Authorities in Pakistan had issued an international arrest warrant for the criminal, known only as Atif Z, suspected to have been involved in at least 70 contract murders in his home country. He was arrested under an international Interpol warrant.
The most wanted man in Pakistan – an alleged hitman aged 35 – is also known as the “Pakistani butcher”.
A group of illegal migrants, including Atif Z, were caught trying to cross into Austria from a town called Boly, near country’s southern border with Croatia and Serbia.
The suspect is currently being held in Hungary, but will soon be moved to Vienna where he would face an extradition order in the next few days.
Austrian police issued a statement confirming that the tip-off had come from Hungarian authorities. Atif Z had enlisted the help of people-smugglers to get him into Austria, but police declined to identify him on grounds of Austria’s data protection rules, Reuters reported.
The arrest was possible thanks to cooperation by Hungarian and Austrian authorities, the Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office (BK) said. But BK spokesman Vincenz Kriegs-Au said Austrian police had no information about details of the contract killings.
Given the list of offences he has committed however, it is unlikely he will be extradited back to Pakistan, since he would most likely face the death penalty for his crimes. Lenient Austrian laws prohibit detainees from being extradited to countries where they could face capital punishment.
Hungarian police also confirmed to Reuters that the Pakistani migrant wanted for murdering around 70 people in his home country, was detained on Wednesday, but would not give further details.
In a statement, police in Hungary’s Bacs-Kiskun county only added that they had identified the 35-year-old wanted criminal among a group of illegal migrants, the target of an international arrest warrant issued by Pakistan.
Karsten Woldeit, a politician for the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany in Berlin, reminded the media earlier that his party “predicted and warned about this development after the uncontrolled entry of hundreds of thousands of migrants in 2015”.
Syrian immigrants represented roughly 37 percent of immigrants to Germany in 2016 and were responsible for 17.6 percent of crimes.
This year, the German Interior Ministry released figures showing the number of crimes committed by migrants had surged by 52.7 percent in Germany last year. Migrants now represented 8.6 percent of all crime suspects in Germany in 2016, up from 5.7 percent in 2015.
Violent crimes in general, including rape, murder, and bodily harm, shot up 6.7 percent in 2016. While migrant crime surged, crimes committed by German citizens dropped 3.4 percent to 1.41 million.