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This article was published on August 16, 2012

    A sign of the times: The UK government turns to Flickr to help catch £765m tax fugitives

    A sign of the times: The UK government turns to Flickr to help catch £765m tax fugitives
    Josh Ong
    Story by

    Josh Ong

    Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].

    HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has posted to Flickr the photos of 20 individuals that have collectively defrauded the UK government of £765 million ($1.2 billion), BBC reports.

    If you’ve got a bad feeling about that new couple next door, you might want to check the HMRC photo stream to see if your neighbors are some of the UK’s most wanted. The agency has also posted the names, ages, nationalities and crimes for each of the fugitives.

    The hunt has reached international proportions, as most of the 20 suspects are believed to have fled the UK. Not all have been found guilty, though, as some of them skipped town before their trials.

    “These criminals have collectively cost the taxpayer over £765m and HMRC will pursue them relentlessly,” Exchequer Secretary David Gauke told the BBC. “We hope that publishing their pictures in this way will enable members of the public to contribute to the effort to catch them.”

    Is it just me, or does the guy at the bottom right corner look like the Ryan Howard character from the US version of The Office?

    Anyway, citizens who actually think they recognize any of these individuals are instructed to contact HMRC or Crimestoppers.

    Though this Flickr appeal is a first for HMRC, other law enforcement agencies have used the same tactic in the past. For instance, the Metropolitan Police used Flickr to help identify looters from the London riots.

    Images via Flickr / potzuyoko, BBC / HMRC