Polish playboy private eye

Playboy private eye has public life as Polish MP

By Kate Connolly in Warsaw

He is at the beck and call of troubled Poles anywhere in the world, available round the clock on a telephone number that ends in 007.
Krzysztof Rutkowski, who has the airs of a playboy and build of a nightclub bouncer, is Poland's most famous private detective. His goal in life: "To strike at evil wherever it arises."
A television series called Detektyw tracks his exploits - from freeing hostages to retrieving children in child custody battles and liberating prostitutes from pimps. It has propelled him to a position of fame and ensured that his phone never stops ringing.
But while the show enjoys a healthy ratings share of 36 per cent, the authorities are not so enamoured of eastern Europe's Dirty Harry.
In his spare time the former communist-era policeman is an MP specialising in homeland security.
He insists that there is no conflict in combining the roles. "The detective role enhances my abilities as a politician because I have a greater understanding of people's problems and more experience in solving them," he said. But his critics say he became an MP only to make use of a diplomatic passport.
Mr Rutkowski, 44, caused a diplomatic row between Poland and Sweden recently after using his status to hunt down and arrest three Polish extortionists in Stockholm.
While the Swedish police expressed admiration for his "clean arrest", sharp words have been exchanged between the countries' foreign ministries.
The private eye is now under investigation by embarrassed Polish authorities for abusing his passport and discourtesy to a friendly country.
It was not the first time he had caused such a row. Two years ago Mr Rutkowski prompted angry protests from the Czech government after arresting in a hotel room a Polish man accused of murdering a female lawyer. But he and his mostly female fans say he needs to take the law into his own hands because he gets results, while the police are sluggish, lack motivation and are often responsible for crimes they are supposed to be investigating.
"There are lots of Al Capones around," he said. "They're often up to their necks in crime, but it's hard to prove. So my lads and I intervene and wham, bam, we've sorted the problem and the world is a better place."
His actions have taken the fearless detective, who cites as his role model Corrado Cattani, the fictitious 1980s Italian anti-Mafia police inspector, way beyond Europe's borders.
A recent success included rescuing a Polish child caught in a custody case from its father in Saudi Arabia.
Less successful were his attempts to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or to track down the sniper who terrorised Washington in 2002. Neither action has appeared on his television series.
His most recent case involved reporting to police a London man who he claims worked as an MI5 spy and was sexually abusing a half-Polish child.
"Imagine," he said. "Polish detective takes on English James Bond and wins."
Fiction is great, good or bad. It's a reflection of real life.

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