What is an Interpol red notice and how does it work?

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Interpol, or the International Criminal Police Organization, has existed, in some way, shape, or form, since roughly 1922. The syndicate composed of 195 countries has a mere ~$200 million in funding yearly.

But the power of Interpol lies less in its budget or staffing (~1,000 employees) and more in its reach and ability to sway nations to extradite criminals. According to its own charter, Interpol is barred from conducting any political, military, religious, or racial interventions, so it’s supposed to be limited to strictly criminal prosecutions.

What happens when a red notice is issued?

To have a red notice issued by Interpol, a member country must submit the name of a suspect and the reason they want them listed. The suspect’s details are forwarded to the Interpol General Secretariat and checked. If the details are acceptable, the red notice is approved.

Once the red notice is approved, the suspect’s details are forwarded to all 195 member nations. It’s important to note that a red notice is not an arrest warrant and how any nation treats a red notice is for it to decide.

There are currently almost 70,000 red notices issued for criminals worldwide and Interpol has dozens of different databases to assist any law enforcement agency interested in arresting or extraditing any of those criminals. Some of these databases are as pivotal as DNA, others as specific as stolen artwork archives.

Read more: Do Kwon’s arrest: South Korea considers Interpol red notice and passport revoke

What’s next for Do Kwon?

On Monday, September 26, Do Kwon sent a flurry of unhinged tweets that made a series of ludicrous claims. In one, Do states that he searched for his name in the Interpol public database and found nothing, in another he says he’s “making zero effort to hide.”

Of the 70,000 red notices, only ~7,000 are publicly shared — 90% aren’t placed in the public registry for users to look at but are instead sent out to law enforcement agencies.

As for his “zero effort to hide” comment, this could very well be true. As stated before, a red notice isn’t an arrest warrant, so depending on what country he’s currently living in, it may not care about taking him to jail or having him extradited back to South Korea. However, unless Do has high-quality false identities, departing the country he’s currently in could prove to be extremely difficult.

There’s reason to believe that Do has already prepared for the worst: CoinDesk has reported that he’s recently moved $67 million worth of bitcoin. If Do has access to enough capital and connections, it will be a long time before any country acknowledges he’s within its borders.

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