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Rising Fears Extra security assigned to Netherlands' public figures after Peter R De Vries assassination

Mr de Vries had been advising and acting as a confidant in the case against Daniel Kinahan associate, Dutch mobster Ridouan Taghi, when he was gunned down in Amsterdam in July

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Ridouan Taghi is currently on trial in the Netherlands.

Ridouan Taghi is currently on trial in the Netherlands.

Ridouan Taghi is currently on trial in the Netherlands.

The Dutch caretaker prime minister Mark Rutte has been assigned 24-hour personal protection after alarms were raised that he had become a potential target for ruthless drug gangs. 

Authorities in the Netherlands where Mr Rutte who famously likes to cycle to and from work in The Hague, usually alone, are to step up his personal security after “spotters” were identified tracking him.

It follows the high-profile assignation of investigative journalist, Peter R De Vries, in July, which prompted justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus to acknowledge that “excessive violence” against public figures was “no longer a taboo”.

Some judges, lawyers, journalists and police officers and their families have been living with extra security since the shooting dead of De Vries in central Amsterdam who had been an advisor to the main witness in a high-profile court case connected to a string of drugs-related killings.

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Peter R de Vries

Peter R de Vries

Peter R de Vries

 

The brother and the lawyer of the same witness had previously both been shot dead in separate incidents.

Mr de Vries had been advising and acting as a confidant for a witness for Nabil B in the case against an associate of cartel boss Daniel Kinahan, Dutch mobster Ridouan Taghi, when he was gunned down in Amsterdam in July.

In 2019, Taghi made a public statement denying reports he had threatened to have the renowned crime journalist killed.

Taghi is currently in custody and on trial with 16 of his associates, who face accusations relating to six gangland murders in the Netherlands as well as drugs trafficking charges.

The Dutch-Moroccan organised-crime boss is alleged to have formed a European 'super-mafia' with Kinahan as well as senior criminals from Bosnia, Italy and Chile.

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People lay flowers at scene of shooting of journalist Peter R de Vries

People lay flowers at scene of shooting of journalist Peter R de Vries

People lay flowers at scene of shooting of journalist Peter R de Vries

 

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Investigations by the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) established that Taghi was a prominent guest at Daniel Kinahan's wedding in Dubai in July 2017 while the Dutch criminal was on the run from police in his own country.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that MPs had noticed additional security in the parliamentary complex and even inside the chamber during the budget debate last week.

They had assumed it was for far-right politician Geert Wilders, who has been living with 24-hour security for more than 15 years because of Islamist threats.

However, further inquiries by the media, including the national broadcaster, NOS, confirmed that the security was intended for Mr Rutte – now in his 11th year as prime minister, at the head of his third consecutive coalition government, which collapsed in January. He remains in office in a caretaker capacity.

Asked by reporters on Monday if suggestions of additional security and the imminent threat of a personal attack were correct, Mr Rutte said: “It is well known that safety and protection issues are never addressed in public.”

One analyst said the criminals’ plan could be “to sow fear and destabilise society” – a suggestion described by Amsterdam’s mayor, Femke Halsema, as “a terrorist tactic”.

Acting finance minister, Wopke Hoekstra, said last week that €400 million more would be spent next year on anti-crime measures, including personal security for those potentially at risk.

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