BERLIN (Reuters) - A Canadian man suspected of murdering and dismembering a Chinese student, then posting a video of the grisly crime online, was arrested in an Internet cafe in Berlin on Monday after an international manhunt.
Interpol had issued a “red notice,” its highest type of warning, for Luka Rocco Magnotta, 29, who faces first degree murder charges in the death of 32-year-old Jun Lin.
Magnotta, who used at least three identities and was an avid Internet user, is believed to have killed Lin with a pick axe, dismembered and defiled his body and then mailed some of the body parts to political parties in the Canadian capital Ottawa.
The gruesome murder prompted the largest manhunt in the history of Montreal, a city of 1.7 million in the predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec.
“He used the web to glorify himself, and it was the web that got him arrested,” Montreal police spokesman Ian Lafreiniere told reporters in the Canadian city where the murder took place.
“There was great relief among investigators when we heard this news,” Lafreiniere said of the arrest.
German police picked up the trail after a tip-off from French authorities, who realized Magnotta - dubbed by European media as the “Canadian psycho” - had caught a bus to Berlin from France.
“He should have known that there are identity checks when you travel by coach,” a French police source said.
The owner of the Berlin Internet cafe, Kadir Anlayisli, said he recognized Magnotta and stepped out of the cafe, on Berlin’s busy Karl Marx Strasse in the multi-cultural neighborhood of Neukoelln, stopped a passing police van and told them, “I have someone here you might be looking for.”
“Our policemen went inside and asked the person for his identification. He gave them a false name but he got very nervous so they insisted on seeing his passport. After a while he gave up and said ‘You’ve got me,’” said Berlin police spokesman Stefan Redlich.
Most of the police in the van were young trainees, Redlich said.
Magnotta left a bizarre Internet trail as an alleged kitten-killer and bisexual porn star, and Lafreniere said police had not ruled out the possibility that he was involved in other crimes.
The suspect is being held at a Berlin police station and is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Tuesday.
It is unclear when Magnotta might be returned to Canada. A spokeswoman for Canadian Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said ministry officials were working quickly with Quebec’s attorney general to submit a formal extradition request.
Magnotta is believed to have entered France on May 26, and French police had investigated thousands of reported sightings.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he wanted to congratulate German and French police for their good work.
Montreal police say they found a bloody mattress and pools of blood on the floor and in the refrigerator of Magnotta’s apartment.
A janitor found a torso with no head or limbs in a suitcase in an alley behind the building, while a decomposing foot mailed to the headquarters of the governing Conservative Party and a hand found inside a package at a postal depot were from the same body.
China on Monday urged its nationals in Canada to take increased safety precautions.
“The methods used in the crime were brutal. The nature and impact of this crime were utterly horrible and we feel deeply shocked,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said.
Additional reporting by Alexandra Hudson, Gerard Bon, Leila Lemghalef, David Ljunggren and Chris Buckley; Editing by Janet Guttsman and Vicki Allen