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Gun horror Dutch police detain three suspects in shooting attack on crime reporter Peter R de Vries

The 64-year-old, who is well-known for his work in exposing the criminal underworld, has been left fighting for his life


Gunned down:  Peter R de Vries

Gunned down: Peter R de Vries

Gunned down: Peter R de Vries

Three suspects, including the possible shooter, have been detained by Dutch police investigating the gun attack on the well-known crime reporter Peter R de Vries last night.

The 64-year-old who is a celebrity in the Netherlands for his work in exposing the criminal underworld, has been left fighting for his life after being shot on an Amsterdam street.

Dutch broadcaster RTL said De Vries had just left its studio in downtown Amsterdam when the attack happened just after 5.30pm (GMT).

The journalist was walking away from the studio on the Lange Leidsedwarsstraat when five shots were fired at close range with on hitting him in the head.

Minutes earlier he had appeared on the TV programme RTL Boulevard to talk about the case of a hairdresser who was murdered in 2019.

Police cordoned off the area of the shooting near the downtown Leidseplein square. They were collecting video footage, witness statements and forensic evidence.

Two suspects were arrested in a car on the A4 motorway at Leidschendam, and a third in Amsterdam following information from witnesses at the scene.

Police issued an appeal for witnesses and CCTV footage of the shooting but are asking people not to share the material on social media. YouTube said it had removed hundreds of videos from its platform.

Amsterdam’s Parool newspaper published an image of the scene with several people gathered around a person lying on the ground.

Mr de Vries was previously given police protection after receiving threats for his involvement in criminal cases as an investigative journalist.

The attack has shaken the Netherlands, with messages of support for Mr de Vries and the safety of all journalists coming from leading figures across the country.

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte described the shooting as "shocking and incomprehensible," adding it was an attack on a "courageous journalist" and on the freedom on the press.

Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus paid tribute to an "extraordinary journalist", calling Mr de Vries an "admirable warrior against injustice for the underdog".

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima said they were "deeply shocked" and that "journalists must be free to carry out their important work without threats."

The Dutch Bar Association has released a statement describing the "brutal attack" as having an enormous impact on the legal profession.

Peter R de Vries has covered numerous high-profile crimes, including the 1983 kidnapping of beer magnate Freddy Heineken.

In 2013 Heineken's kidnapper, Willem Holleeder, was convicted of making threats against Mr de Vries.

One of the Netherlands' most notorious gangsters, Holleeder was given a life sentence in 2019 for his involvement in five murders.

A novel Mr de Vries wrote about the case was later adapted into the movie Kidnapping Freddy Heineken starring Anthony Hopkins.

The journalist also won an Emmy Award for a television show he made about Natalee Holloway, a US teenager who disappeared on the Caribbean island of Aruba in 2005.

Mr de Vries frequently acted as a spokesperson for witnesses in police or court cases, and had been acting as an adviser to Nabil B, a former gang member testifying in the case against alleged drug lord, Ridouan Taghi.

The Moroccan-Dutch suspect and his associates are currently on trial in the Netherlands for murder and drug trafficking.

The case has already sent shock waves through Netherlands after Nabil B's previous lawyer Derk Wiersum was assassinated in front of his Amsterdam home in September 2019.

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