Drug gangs may be behind Dutch newspaper attacks - police

2018-06-27 15:58

Dutch police on Wednesday stepped up a probe into a van attack on one of the country's leading newspapers, with drug-trafficking gangs possible suspects, as the daily vowed it would never be cowed.

"We are currently investigating all angles, but we are not excluding that the attack may have some connection to organised crime," Amsterdam police spokeswoman Esther Izaks told AFP.

A white van was twice deliberately rammed into the glass-fronted facade of the head offices of popular daily tabloid De Telegraaf in Amsterdam before dawn on Tuesday.

The hoodie-wearing driver then got out, poured the contents of a jerrycan into the back of the van and set it alight, igniting a massive fireball. The driver fled in a nearby waiting car.

"We will never be silent," declared the front-page headline of De Telegraaf on Wednesday, above a picture of the burnt-out Volkswagen Caddy van lodged in the charred and twisted facade.

It was the second attack on a Dutch media organisation in less than a week after a man fired an anti-tank weapon into another building in the same Sloterdijk area of Amsterdam housing several organisations including the weekly newspaper Panorama.

'Intensive investigation'

Extra safety measures have now been put in place to protect other newspaper buildings around the city, including more surveillance cameras.

"We have launched an intensive investigation, but it is not possible at this stage to say how long it may last," Izaks said.

The Telegraaf said the police have set-up a large-scale investigation team, with about 20 detectives and forensic experts assigned to the case. Some are scanning CCTV records, and they are appealing for other video footage from any passersby.

The Telegraaf, known for its focus on crime exposes, as well as sports and celebrity gossip, speculated that Amsterdam's so-called Mocro-mafia may be behind the attacks.

Both De Telegraaf and Panorama have recently published stories about the police hunt for two wanted gang members from Utrecht, who are believed to have fled to Mexico.

"Perhaps the attacks were in reaction to these two stories," the Telegraaf wrote.

Far from tourists' eyes, the Dutch capital has witnessed several assassinations in recent years as rival gangs vie for control of the lucrative drug trade.

The most gruesome was in 2016 when the severed head of a known gang member was found outside a shisha lounge.

The gangs consist mainly of Dutch citizens of Moroccan or Surinamese descent.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the attack a "slap in the face to the free press and to Dutch democracy" and the national journalists association denounced what it called an "alarming trend".

Dutch police said meanwhile they had found early on Wednesday the burnt-out wreck of the possible getaway car, after an Audi was found on fire in a parking lot near a main highway.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    belgium

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Kevin Anderson’s dog is winning at Instagram!

South African tennis player and 2018 Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson has a large pool of loyal fans but among the most noticeable is his adorable dog Lady Kady – who even has her own instagram account.

 

Paws

Kim Kardashian-West buys fake testicles to boost her dog’s self-esteem
10 tips on exercising your dog
Our top picks for doggo post of the week
Meet the unstoppable two-legged cat taking over the interwebs!
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.