PARIS: French police checked a Paris bar and two hotels in their hunt for a Canadian porn star suspected of filming the dismemberment of his boyfriend and mailing the body parts, a police source said Saturday.
Police had carried out “targeted searches” as they looked for Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, dubbed “Canadian Psycho” by the popular press, amid reports he may be in France, said a police source.
The source would not say if these searches were based on the known haunts of Magnotta on previous visits to France, or definite reports he was in the country.
Investigators focused on a main road in the Batignolle neighbourhood of the capital’s 17th arrondissement in the northwest of the city, the police source told AFP.
Late Friday, they visited Le Petit Batignolles bar, where they looked at security tapes, showed a photo of the suspect to the manager and left with empty Coca-cola bottles, taking care not to smudge potential fingerprints, said one witness who asked not to be named.
The bar owner denied police had visited.
In the nearby Studio des Batignolles hotel, two officers stopped by Thursday evening, employee Mohamed Sbibi said.
“They showed us a photo and asked if we had seen him,” he said. “We’d never seen him.”
At the neighbouring Hotel des Batignolles, two officers arrived early Saturday morning and asked if they recognised the suspect, according to one employee who asked not to be named.
Unconfirmed reports on TV news channel LCI late Saturday said the fugitive “met a witness judged to be credible in Paris on May 28” and police carried out another check in Seine-Saint-Denis to the north of the capital.
Canadian investigators said Magnotta had flown from Montreal to France on May 26. But French police said on Friday they had “no certainty as to his presence in France.”
Interpol on Thursday issued a Red Notice wanted-persons alert for Magnotta, also known as Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov, to its 190 member countries after a video of the grisly killing surfaced online.
Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail meanwhile quoted unnamed sources as saying he could be in France.
The killing came to light when Canadian police said Tuesday that a human foot had been sent to the headquarters of Canada’s ruling Conservative Party.
A hand was later found in the mail at an Ottawa post office, and a torso was discovered in Montreal. Canadian police believe the remains belong to a man who was dating Magnotta — and that Magnotta is to blame.
Canadian authorities say they believe the suspect may have fled the country and Canadian newspapers have published earlier pictures of him posing in front of Parisian landmarks.
An airport official said passenger lists of flights from Canada were being checked, so far without result.
The suspect has been dubbed “Canadian Psycho” because the video circulating online shows a man stab another man with an ice pick and dismember him while a song from the film “American Psycho” plays in the background.
The victim, a student identified as Lin Jun, had been “in a relationship” with the porn star, according to Montreal police commander Ian Lafreniere.
Lafreniere said Magnotta wears wigs and sometimes disguises himself as a woman.
“We believe he could be anywhere at this point,” Lafreniere added, noting that Magnotta may have returned to Canada under another identity.