The Amsterdam Underworld
It is easy to see why the older gangsters of the Amsterdam gangland unanimously think that they belong to a better kind of men than their younger, modern colleagues, because they allegedly sticked to strict standards of decency. This is a common phenomenon: the old guard of New York Lower East Side, a notorious centre of American organised crime, mourn the good old days exactly the same way. It was different in the days of Frits Adriaanse and Haring Arie (Herring Adrian). It was a world of gangsters and pimps, prostitutes, burglars, gamblers, nightclub doormen, swindlers, and all the others for whom the Red Light District was a natural environment, until the 1960s. Until these years the brothels were owned by individuals, the prostitutes were protected by small time pimps, the small shops were run by independent owners. Nobody had much money to spend. The actions of the gangland against the authorities were characterized by solidarity. You didn’t rat on each other. The police controlled the Red Light District somewhat remotely, because it was impossible for them to intervene in all the conflicts between prostitutes and their clients, between prostitutes and their pimps, nor between bartenders and their clients. The police knew that fighting pimps would be best mates the next day, after they had sobered up. And if they were fighting, they would use their bare fists or a bar stool, never a knife or a gun. If someone used a knife or a gun, his mates would break his fingers.
All the old gangland boys speak about police commissioners like Gerard Toorenaar with a certain reverence: they were tough, but fair and just.
The big turnaround in the Red Light District came in the 1960s, with mass tourism. This changed the area into a large reddish sex park, and made the neighbourhood an object of speculation. Yet the real big change took place in the 1970s, with the emergence of drugs. The balance in the neighbourhood was severely disrupted when the modus vivendi between the police and the gangland was lost. The romantic image of the Red Light District faded. No longer was it a place where a great togetherness prevailed, and where differences were resolved with the fist.
However, the world of the Amsterdam Red Light District remained a natural habitat for drug dealers and other gangsters, even if their roots were not there, and even if they were living in villas outside the city. The nightclubs were their favourite places to hang out and spend their money.
Zwarte Jopie (Maurits de Vries)
Zwarte Jopie (Black Jopie), who’s real name was Maurits De Vries, was the first King of the Red Light District.
He started his career as a businessman in Amsterdam, near the famous Tuschinsky cinema, where he let visitors park their bicycles for a quarter. After that he tried his luck on the market, where his brother had a stand, and then he became a bouncer in the Amsterdam nightlife. When he had saved and borrowed enough money, Zwarte Jopie bought the pub Casablanca, on the Zeedijk, where he played the piano. He loved jazz.
He hired Dutch karate champion and ex-commando Jon Bluming as the main bouncer. Halfway through the 1960s the first sex shops opened in Amsterdam. Zwarte Jopie’s cousin, Lex Ansing, started a wholesale in sex articles, and in 1970 Zwarte Jopie himself opened a sex museum on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal. Later he would convert it into a sex club, called Club 26, where the Amsterdam society and the gangland gathered. When Club 26 was converted into a casino, jazz pianist Nedley Elstak often played there, as well as The Platters, The Guys & Dolls, The Fortunes en The Tramps.
Being very successful in his line of business, Zwarte Jopie took his wife to Sicily on a yacht, and he stayed there for a couple of years. A week or two before he left, he asked me what he needed for a sailing trip to the Mediterranean, because he knew I had done this before. After he returned he opened the Casa Rosso sex club and the Key Club, where life sex shows (“real fuckie-fuckie”) were performed. A novelty in Holland.
Zwarte Jopie employed his mates from the old gangland, and looked after them in a (god)fatherly way. Also he employed young guys from the local gyms and martial arts schools, to keep his area free from junkies and pickpockets, and to protect his charming female staff. His personal protection group consisted of karate expert Jan Stapper, judo champion Wim Ruska, and wrestlers Jan Dieke, Gerrie Vogelzang, Herman Vogelzang, Chris Dolman and Bert Kops.
Zwarte Jopie was a romantic, and in 1973 he contacted the American mafia, to expand his empire. They were ready to help him, but they wanted casinos instead of sex clubs. Godfather Dino Cellini met up with Zwarte Jopie and a couple of other guys from the Amsterdam gangland, but the latter were not impressed and wanted to keep their freedom. Further more, the Americans found their profits quite disappointing, especially after gambling was legalised in Holland and Casa Rosso went up in smoke. Thirteen people were burnt to death in this spectacular fire, because they couldn’t get out of the building. The arsonist was a dismissed Israeli employee of Zwarte Jopie, who went berserk when he was refused entrance to the club.
Zwarte Jopie also had excellent relationships with the legal business world, and from his Italian-American friends he had learned that local charity makes you popular in the neighbourhood. But like so many successful gangsters, Zwarte Jopie became blinded by his power, and his staff and business associates started to exploit him and take the mickey out of him.
After the Casa Rosso burned down to the ground, Zwarte Jopie wanted to get out of the business and leave Amsterdam. But the local authorities in Amsterdam were afraid that the Oudezijds Voorburgwal would become a no-go area, just like the Head of the Zeedijk, where drug dealers called the shots, so they begged Zwarte Jopie to stay and they facilitated the restoration of the Casa Rosso, fifty yards from the old location. Zwarte Jopie was proud: the neighbourhood couldn’t do without him, the King of the Underworld. Zwarte Jopie died on July 13, 1986, from a cerebral haemorrhage.
In 1994 the Casa Rosso club was sold, via real estate tycoon Maup Caransa, to Willem Holleeder and Cor Van Hout, two of the kidnappers of beer tycoon Freddy Heineken, who used Rob Grifhorst (“The Builder”) as a front man, after which the brewery refused to renew the contract and supply the club with beer. In 1997 the Casa Rosso was sold to Jan Otten, who use to work there as a bouncer in the early days.
Frits van de Wereld (Frits Adriaanse)
Zwarte Jopie started his illegal career with smuggling cigarettes, and later with cannabis trade, just like Frits Adriaanse, Pietje Pieterse and their buddy Willem Landsman, Gijs Van Dam, gambling hall owner Jerry Heere, and Bertus Kwarten, who later became an associate of Johan Verhoek (“The Stutterer”). The transport of the cannabis by ships was taken care of by former fishermen and wholesale fishmongers like the Volendam shrimp trader Jack Stroek and Theo “Dorus” Pompert from Den Helder.
In August 1964, Maurits (“Maup”) Caransa opened his illegal casino in the Badhotel in Zandvoort, Amsterdam’s seaside resort. In September 1964 he was investigated by the prosecutor’s office, for exploitation of the hazard game in his hotel. In first instance he was acquitted by the court, but after the prosecution appealed, the manager, not Caransa, was fined 25 guilders (two pounds sixpence in those days).
Maup Caransa was of Sephardic Jewish descent, and he made his first fortune right after WWII, selling parts of American and British military cars that were left behind after the war. He invested his money in real estate, and owned Amsterdam’s most famous hotels: Amstel Hotel, Doelen Hotel, Schiller Hotel, Hotel American, etc. He also owned most of the restaurants and bars in the Rembrandt Square. Not all of them, because he didn’t want to be an “absolute ruler”, as he once said.
Maup Caransa was also the main financier of Zwarte Jopie.
“Hey, I’m not Caransa!” is still an Amsterdam saying, meaning “I’m not made of money”.
Maup Caransa died on August 6, 2009. Since 1990 his real estate empire is managed by his grandsons Maurits and Salomon.
In November 1969 the Amsterdam drug dealer Hugo Ferrol married Thea Moear (“The Godmother”), daughter of Gijsje Balk (“Blonde Greet”), a friend of Frits Adriaanse’s wife Hendrika Horstman. Thea Moear was a beautiful half-Indonesian woman, and in 1971 she won the Miss Hotpants competition. Her mother Blonde Greet took an enormous risk by openly taking a suitcase full of heroin from Singapore to Amsterdam.
In 1970 Chung Mon arrived in Holland to start a branch of the 14K Triad in Amsterdam, and soon after him the bosses Golden K. and Ah Meng from the Singapore triad of Ah Kon arrived. They were suspected of committing murder in Singapore.
In 1971, Henk de Vries, also known as Henkie Veth, now owner of the coffee shop empire The Bulldog, was caught in Germany with 100 kg of herbal cannabis. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
Commissioner Toorenaars (r) and Maurits Caransa (l)
Gerard Toorenaar was a Dutch policeman. From 1952 to 1984 he was employed by the Amsterdam police.
In June 1967, Police Inspector Gerard Toorenaar was transferred back to headquarters in Elandsgracht, to be part of the Central Investigation Department, which consisted of about ten people. Toward the end of the 1960s Toorenaar was also working with Detective Inspector Evert Jagerman, in a major bank fraud case.
End 1968, Gerard Toorenaar became chief of the Narcotics brigade, mainly handling soft drugs, which were sold in the streets, especially in the Dam and the Vondelpark. Heroin came later.
In 1971, Gerard Toorenaar became chief of the Special Cases department, in which he regularly acted as head of the Serious Crimes Group, also known as the Murder Brigade.
Toorenaar was, among other, Superintendent and Commissioner in the Amsterdam police force. As head of the narcotics squad he was known as a fierce opponent of the emerging heroin trade in the 1970s. He led several high profile cases, including the investigation into the abduction of businessman Maup Caransa. In 1968 he received international recognition through his leading role in resolving a case concerning a worldwide, from London operating, organisation of gold smugglers.
After several corruption scandals within the Amsterdam Police Force, Toorenaar was transferred in 1979 from Central Criminal Investigations to the Lijnbaansgracht station, where he became head. Although his direct involvement was never proven, Toorenaar himself was the subject of an investigation into corruption. In 1980, research showed that it was “unclear why and how he had used dubious informants,” and the report said that his style was one of “largely solo performances”. (What else do you expect in a corrupt police force, in which you don’t know who to trust?) The responsible minister and the Amsterdam mayor however saw no reason for dismissal. In 1983 he was dismissed from his post as police chief and he became an advisory post. In 1984 he left the police force, one year before his retirement, out of dissatisfaction with a rebuke by Minister Koos Rietkerk.
Toorenaar’s farewell party was criticized by police chief Jaap Valken. The presence of the “metropolitan gangland”, like Pistolen Paultje (Paul Guns) was, according to Valken “an embarrassment for the police”. That was an utterly silly remark, because Paul Wilking was a nice man, a gentle man, who founded his private RSPCA because he (rightfully) thought that the official Dutch RSPCA was doing too little to punish animal abusers. He got his nickname during the war, when he was in the Dutch resistance, where he provided commando groups with guns he stole from the Germans. Paul had never been part of the “metropolitan gangland”, and the only “crime” he committed was selling arms to revolutionary armies who wanted to overthrow their colonial governments. That doesn’t make him a criminal, but a hero.
After his retirement Toorenaar started a detective agency. Without any doubt Gerard Toorenaar was one of the best and most discussed policeman of the Dutch police. Gerard Toorenaar was always in the right place at the right time. The Caransa-abduction, the spread of the heroine smuggling, international terrorism, fraud, and dozens of notorious murder cases were investigated by him. He died in 1994.
In January, 1972, Hugo Ferrol, the husband of Thea Moear, was shot in the leg by the Italian Antonio Brusamolin from Brussels. Antonio would later become Thea’s partner.
The Holleeder Gang
Cor Van Hout (“Flipper”) grew up in Amsterdam in the 1960s, together with his stepbrother Martin Erkamps, his brother in law Willem Holleeder (“The Nose”) (who was married to his sister) and their “blood brothers” Jan Boellaard (“The Puss”) and Frans Meijer.
In 1974 Cor Van Hout started a contracting firm that specialized in clearing squats. The use of violence was one of their methods.
On April 24, 1974, Frits Adriaanse was caught with 52 kg of cannabis from the motor vessel “Lammy”, where another 2,000 kg was found. Also arrested were Jack Stroek from Volendam and skipper Pompert. Blonde Greet (Thea Moear’s mother) was also arrested with 60 kg of cannabis in the trunk of her car. Immediately after the arrests David Vaz Dias, a wholesaler in stolen diamonds and active in Amsterdam gambling circles, went underground in Hilversum, where he was shot dead on May 13, probably because he tipped off the police about the smugglers. Frits was sentenced to nine months in prison.
Police Commissioner Gerard Toorenaar was head of the investigation.
Frits Adriaanse (his real name was Simon) was born in Amsterdam and grew up in the Red Light District. In the 1950s he was involved in illegal gambling. His most well known club was the Mata Hari, on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal. After the “Lammy” affair, Frits became the godfather of a group of young cannabis dealers, because he knew a lot of people abroad. Frits was a nice guy, who loved his illegal citizens band radio, and chatted to truck drivers and people in general who also had a 27MC radio. I loved to talk to him.
On March 3, 1975, 14K boss Chung Mon (54) was shot dead by a hit team of the rival triad Wo Lee Kwan, and thousands of Chinese from all over Europe attended his funeral.
After this liquidation 14K sent Chang Yuen Muk to replace Chung Mon. On May 20, 1975, Wu Ch Ming and Choi Kwok Wai were shot dead in Amsterdam when they and some others tried to rob a casino, which was ran by a rival triad. In October of the same year, a Chinese restaurant owner was murdered and his killer was arrested in Hong Kong. On October 28, 1975 the police found 2.5 kg of heroin in Club Number One in Amsterdam, and 22 kg more at another address. In November 1975 Li Pun Kwok was murdered and buried in the dunes.
In the fall of 1975, not long after his release from prison, Frits Adriaanse approached Blonde Greet and gamble house owner Ling Kioe Kan, aka “Tiger” (the American DEA said that he was head of the Wo Lung Wa triad, and one of the biggest heroin traders in the world) to go into the heroin smuggling business. Blonde Greet would get paid in heroin, which she sold from her pub “de Zeemeeuw” (The Seagull), mainly to heroin dealer Piet Clement.
In 1976, the Italian-American Genovese family invested millions in the first professional, yet illegal casino in Amsterdam: the Cabala, right next to the Casa Rosso, which was belonging to their business partner Zwarte Jopie. The Cabala was run by mafia boss Dino Cellini, who worked together with Zwarte Jopie since 1974. The Cabala was a favourite place of Chinese gangsters in Amsterdam; they easily spent half a million in one evening there.
So, in the second half of the 1970s the Amsterdam gangland was introduced to a new generation of criminals, which was the beginning of drug trafficking by organised crime in the Netherlands. The leaders of these new Dutch networks grew to become celebrities: mafia boss Klaas Bruinsma, the duo Sam Klepper and Johnny Mieremet, and Cor Van Hout and Willem Holleeder, the kidnappers of beer tycoon Freddy Heineken.
During the 1990s this new breed of criminals formed a symbiosis with the Amsterdam real estate market, behind the façade of regular trading, and drug money was invested in real estate, through international money laundering routes. At the same time the Dutch mafia got more and more involved in blackmail and rip deals. In 2000 a gangster war broke out that would continue for years, in which the “new” gangland would virtually exterminated itself. Even real estate traders like Willem Endstra and Bertus Lüske were eliminated. At the end of 2005 three protagonists were liquidated within a week: George Van Cleef, John Mieremet and Kees Houtman.
Outside the Amsterdam gangland were other drug barons. The most infamous of them was Johan Verhoek, aka De Hakkelaar (“The Stutterer”).
Halfway through the 1980s Verhoek took over the drug business of René S. (“The Firm”) and he approached Klaas Bruinsma to work together. Middle class Bruinsma dismissed the offer, because he didn’t want to have anything to do with “caravan camp dweller” and stutterer Verhoek. Verhoek was furious when his offer was turned down, and he threatened to take over Bruinsma’s business. Once Bruinsma realised what Verhoek was doing, he decided to cooperate with Verhoek’s Octopus Syndicate, of which Fouad Abbas was the main wholesale cannabis trader.
Johan Verhoek was mentioned as the one who ordered the liquidation of Klaas Bruinsma, together with Jotsa Jocic, out of revenge for the liquidation of Duja Becirovic.
Since he actually wasn’t part of the Amsterdam gangland, I will only mention Johan Verhoek and his associates as far as there’s a connection with the Amsterdam underworld.
Below, a picture emerges from the bustle of two Amsterdam groups which, particularly after the death of Klaas Bruinsma, clearly profiled themselves as key players in the international drug market in the city. In a sense, these were ordinary criminal groups, including the Amsterdam Hell’s Angels, and their main goal was no more and no less than to organise and maximize the yield on their illegal activities.
In 1976 Thea Moear (“The Godmother”) opened her coffee shop Buggie in the Jacob Van Lennepstraat. This was one of the first coffee shops in Amsterdam; the very first one was the Mellow.
In February 1976, Klaas Bruinsma (“The Preacher”) was arrested in Copenhagen when he wanted to deliver cannabis and speed to a Danish dealer. Klaas Bruinsma was born in Amsterdam. His father was Anton Bruinsma; his mother was E. Kelly, of British nationality, who later lived in Australia.
In the beginning of 1977 Frits Adriaanse organised another drug transport with Willem Landsman and Wil Lammers (Theo Heuft’s partner in sex club Yab Yum). Thea Moear and Klaas Bruinsma were also invited, but the drugs were seized.
On June 26, 1977, Klaas Bruinsma gave his gun to a mate, who killed the Chinese bouncer Aik See Teou (“Frankie”) with it, while small time dealer Jan Van Dijk got wounded. A couple of months later Bruinsma was arrested for the shooting and for possession of 100 kg of cannabis.
On November 1, 1977, a ransom of 10 million guilders was paid for Jewish real estate tycoon Maurits (Maup) Caransa, who was released the next day. On October 28, 1977, after a night of playing cards in Club Continental, Caransa was kidnapped by Italians, on behalf of the Amsterdam drug dealer Piet Clement, who resided in Spain. Also involved were Ron Ostrovsky, his girlfriend Lenie Lefèbre, Robbie Koning and Corrie Krabshuis (Thea Moear’s first boyfriend). The case was investigated by Police Commissioner Gerard Toorenaar and his team of detectives, but they weren’t able to prove who did it. This abduction became the inspiration for the kidnappers of Freddy Heineken. Caransa negotiated with the kidnappers himself. Initially they demanded 40 million.
When Hugo Ferrol realised that his ex-wife Thea Moear and Klaas Bruinsma had formed a criminal organization of which he was no part, he demanded his “fair” share and beat Thea up. Thea and Bruinsma then hired the Indonesian Henk Soenarto to kill Ferrol, but Ferrol had taken precautions and on May 2, 1978, Frits Wasseur and Ron Scheide killed Soenarto from a car. Moear and Bruinsma bought their cannabis mainly from the Pakistani Mustaph Malik, and he approached Ferrol to rip Bruinsma off. But Bruinsma was informed and dropped his supplier Malik (who was a good friend of Police Commissioner Gerard Toorenaar) by Malik’s compatriot Mohammed Ashfaque Khan.
On April 18, 1979, cannabis dealer Robbie Koning was arrested with 3,600 kg of cannabis and 200 litres of cannabis oil. He told the police about the kidnapping of Caransa and the police also talked to the Dutch German Rudi D. and the Amsterdam real estate trader Pim Evers, about their business relationship with Wim Camminga.
Starting in 1980, Henk de Vries, aka Henkie Veth (coffee shop The Bulldog) and Steve Brown (who just started his coffee shop Happy Family) did some transports together. Steve Brown was born in California, USA, and came to Amsterdam when he was two.
Around 1980 Cor Van Hout and his company entered the property market. He had millions to spend, money that according to the police came from a series of robberies between 1977 and 1982 in and around Amsterdam, in which a total of 6.5 million guilders was captured.
Late 1980 Geurt Roos met drug dealer and bodybuilder Nico Nieuwenhuizen, who introduced him to Klaas Bruinsma, who employed Roos as a bodyguard. Bruinsma also employed kick boxer André Brilleman and Surinamese Etienne Urka.
In November 1981, Steve Brown visited Morocco for the first time. Brown made a million guilders with his first 300 kg of cannabis from Morocco, so he sent his friend Nico to Bombay to set up a second line. Brown and his business partner Ron Ostrovsky wanted 600 kg to be transported by Stanley Esser (“Cookie”). This transport, however, was seized when Brown’s assistant picked up the load. Three months before, they already had lost 580 kg and just before that 600 kg of Afghan and 700 kg of herbal cannabis. Six months later Brown ripped Stanley Esser from 100 kg of Lebanon cannabis and he got a line via some El Al security agents. Because Brown paid for the damage of the lost drugs, he was sent a second load, which was also seized, just like a load of herbal cannabis.
The Thinkers were a group of robbers who grew up in the Amsterdam Kinkerbuurt and Amsterdam-West. The founding members were Chiel O. (“Rambo”) and Sam Klepper, and Klepper’s buddy John Mieremet. Kees Houtman and George Van Cleef were also part of the group. On January 22, 1982 they robbed a bank in Haarlem, and they captured 2.4 million guilders. In the mid-eighties, this group committed a series of violent robberies of banks, post offices, money transports, mail trains, and jewellers, which were well prepared and carried out with precision. The investigation, prosecution and trial of (members of) this group were not only difficult because of the professional manner in which the crimes were committed, but also because the leaders of that group were discouraged from giving incriminating statements in extremely violent and intimidating ways. That’s how Sam Klepper and John Mieremet in the 1990s got the nickname Spic and Span.
On February 5, 1982, Hugo Ferrol got hurt when Yugoslavian Alex Marianovic and André Brilleman had a bomb exploded at his home in Hoofddorp. Klaas Bruinsma didn’t want to pay for this failed attack and Marianovic approached Ferrol to fool Bruinsma with a fake liquidation. They showed Bruinsma a few staged pictures and Bruinsma paid them 300,000 guilders, but soon Ferrol was spotted alive and Bruinsma handed out a death sentence for Marianovic.
On July 21, 1982, Alex Marianovic was killed in his Mercedes, in front of his house. He was riddled with bullets. Etienne Urka wrote in his diary that Detective Van Looijen from the Amsterdam CID had arranged a picture of Marianovic for Klaas Bruinsma, so his killer would be able to identify him.
In 1973 Martin Hoogland entered the police academy in Amsterdam. After his training, Martin joined the anti-riot squad and he was a trainee in one of the metropolitan districts. Then he was transferred to the Mosplein police station in Amsterdam-North. A couple of years later he asked to be transferred to the Warmoesstraat station in the Red Light District, after which he was increasingly spotted in dodgy pubs and nightclubs in the Rembrandt Square area, as well as with prostitutes in the Red Light District. A file with secret registration numbers of cars used by observation teams was found in his car. Martin Hoogland was transferred in 1981.
In 1984, Martin Hoogland was sacked from the police force, due to unwanted contact with criminals, including Tony Hijzelendoorn and Ferry Koch. Martin Hoogland and Tony Hijzelendoorn worked together for a long time and were specialised in bank robbery, while Koch was specialised in ripping off dealers. Shortly after he was sacked, Martin Hoogland shot two criminals in the legs, in Club Westend, when they threatened his partner Ferry Koch. He spent one year in prison, after which he became the bodyguard of his friend Lyubinko “Duja” Becirovic, the boss of the Belgrade group in Amsterdam.
On December 14, 1981, Ferry Koch shot two men in the Rotterdam club Studio 54, after a failed rip deal. The men survived the attack.
On November 27, 1982, Toos van der Valk was kidnapped by two Italian men, who imprisoned her in an apartment in Belgium. After payment of 13 million guilders, she was released on December 17, 1982. In 1983 the two men were sentenced to 8 and 12 years in prison.
Ron Ostrovsky was suspected to be involved with the kidnapping of Toos Van Der Valk (the Van Der Valk family owns a highway restaurant chain). Later he admitted that he had assassinated André Brilleman and Ferry Koch.
On August 23, 1983, Klaas Bruinsma went to the home of Pietje Pieterse to reclaim a ripped lot of cannabis. Bruinsma sent his bodyguard Geurt Roos home and entered Pieterse’s house, when real estate trader Dirk Holtman, wrestler Chris Dolman and boxer Leo Frantzen suddenly arrived. Chris Dolman was one of Zwarte Jopie’s bodyguards, and Bruinsma felt threatened. There was a shooting in which Frantzen was killed, and Bruinsma and Pieterse were wounded. Chris Dolman was startled and called an ambulance. All the survivors were arrested. When Bruinsma was carried out to the ambulance on a stretcher, he said to Pieterse, “Jesus Christ, Pietje! Why is it always such a mess in your place?”
On October 12, 1983, the Chilean Eduardo Astudillo was shot in the head from a motorcycle in Amsterdam, by Charly Da Silva. Astudillo was wearing a bullet-proof vest after previously his Chilean friends Carlos Carrillo and “Yucal” (cassava patch) were assassinated by Da Silva, who was soon arrested. As soon as he arrived in prison, Da Silva was hired as Klaas Bruinsma’s bodyguard, and he would stay his bodyguard until Bruinsma’s death.
The kidnapping of Freddie Heineken
On November 9, 1983, beer tycoon Freddy Heineken and his driver Ab Doderer were kidnapped by Martin Erkamps, Frans Meijer, Cor Van Hout, Willem Holleeder and Jan Boellaard.
The kidnapping took place in front of the Heineken office in Amsterdam. Heineken and Doderer were imprisoned in a hangar in the western part of the port. The 42 meter long hangar was used as a joinery works, but in the back was a secret room with two sound-proofed cells, where Heineken and Doderer were held. They were taken care of outside working hours, so no-one knew what was going on.
The kidnappers demanded 35 million guilders in the form of 200,000 banknotes in four different currencies, with a total weight of 400 kg, divided in five bags. The handover of the money was planned on November 15, 1983, but because the car with the money was followed by journalists, the handover was called off. On November 28, 1983, the money was dropped. It was buried in plastic barrels in the woods near Zeist. But the kidnappers didn’t release Heineken and Doderer.
Thanks to an anonymous tip-off, in which three of the five kidnappers were mentioned, Heineken and Doderer were released on November 30, 1983. Boellaard and Erkamps were arrested; Meijer, Van Hout and Holleeder escaped and were caught much later. Of the 35 million guilders ransom money, 8 million were never found.
Cor van Hout and Willem Holleeder were hiding in France and in 1984 their childhood buddy Robbie Offenberg was on his way to pay them a visit. However, in Belgium he died in a car accident. After that Holleeder and Van Hout took care of Robbie’s son Mike, and they encouraged him to become a professional football player. Mike Offenberg’s mother is Alida van Dam, daughter of drug dealer and gangster Gijs van Dam Sr.
Gijs van Dam Sr. had become a big fish in the Amsterdam gangland and was involved in large scale international cannabis trafficking. He spent prison time in Belgium and was arrested in France in 1980, but released because they couldn’t prove his guilt. Van Dam Sr., is a wealthy man and was involved with the people who kidnapped Freddy Heineken. He is also believed to have done business with crime boss Sam Klepper, who would be shot and killed in October 2000 in Amsterdam.
In 1984 Roy Adkins became head of the drugs division during the time Klaas Bruinsma was detained. It was the year that Bruinsma’s father, the wealthy soft drink producer Anton Bruinsma, died. He left each of his four children (Klaas, Charley, Anton and Ada) a small fortune of about one million euro.
Roy Adkins was a gangland figure living in South London, and he had connections with many English and Irish criminals. Thea Moear was replaced by Etienne Urka, while Sam Klepper and John Mieremet became head of the gambling machines division.
An inmate attempted to strangle Dirk Holtman, while Klaas Bruinsma was also still in prison. After his release Holtman chose to flee to the U.S.
Also in 1984, the Antillean drug dealer Stanley Esser was shot in the head by the Lebanese diamond and drug dealer Henie Shamel, because he didn’t pay for a shipment of drugs. However, Esser survived. On December 21, 1984, Anton Konings introduced Esser to DEA undercover agent Jack Short, aka Jack Schmidt, who was posing as a cocaine dealer. They introduced him to their coke dealer Giovanni Gandola and to the Afghan boss Abdul Wali (“Hadji”). Gandola then sent his man Jacques Canavaggio to Esser, to warn him that their “friend” was an undercover agent.
February, 1985. When Klaas Bruinsma found out that his bodyguard André Brilleman had been involved in the fake liquidation of his rival drug dealer Hugo Ferrol, in February, 1982, for which he already punished Alex Marianovic by assassinating him, he ordered the liquidation of André Brilleman. Ferry Koch and five of his associates beat the shit out of Brilleman with their baseball bats, they cut off his penis and his legs, and then Ferry Koch killed him by shooting a bullet into his head. Afterwards, they threw the body parts in a steel drum with concrete, and dumped it in the river Waal. After this gruesome incident everybody in the Amsterdam gangland showed respect to Klaas Bruinsma, at least in public.
In 1985, Thea Moear (“The Godmother”) retired. As a shareholder she stayed involved with Klaas Bruinsma’s organisation, but there were problems when Bruinsma’s employees refused to pay her the yield of her investments.
On September 2, 1985, Cees Helman and Jan Van Dijk escaped from prison, helped by frogmen who put ladders against the outside wall and handed them a gun. It was Klaas Bruinsma who arranged the escape.
In December 1985 Klaas Bruinsma helped Hans Schulze and Alex Buijteweg to escape from prison, using a tower waggon. Hans Schulze used to transport huge amounts of cocaine from Colombia, between 1975 and 1978. He was a well known coke dealer in The Haguå, and many people from Amsterdam got their cocaine from him. Alex Buijteweg committed suicide.
Also in December 1985 Cor Van Hout and Willem Holleeder were released from La Santé prison in Paris, thanks to their barrister Max Moszkowicz. They were extradited to Holland.
On December 23, 1985, Bennie Mulch (“The Pimple”) was picked up from prison by his girlfriend, after which he was shot dead by Gaby Akkerman. Gaby escaped on the back of a motor cycle, driven by Ron Ostrovsky. The principals were Klaas Bruinsma and Cees Helman. Helman was imprisoned after Mulch had ratted on him.
On May 14, 1986, Robbie Koning spotted Ron Ostrovsky in Amsterdam and fled. Ostrovsky started to shoot, Koning jumped into a canal in an attempt to escape, but was shot dead. The assignment came from Klaas Bruinsma, who involved Koning in a shipment of 100 kg of heroin, but the police seized the shipment because they were tipped off by their snitch Koning. The heroin had a street value of 50 million guilders.
In 1986 Gijs Van Dam Sr. and Sam Klepper were arrested for possession of 1,000 kg of cannabis. On 24 June 1986 the Prosecution Office in The Hague demanded 15 months imprisonment for Van Dam Sr. “Tulips from Amsterdam and Hashish from Gijs van Dam,” said the chair of the Criminal Court jokingly. A former owner of a transport company had stated that Van Dam had used his trucks to smuggle cannabis from Spain to Holland.
Also in 1986, Klaas Bruinsma was released from prison.
In February 1987 Cor Van Hout and Willem Holleeder were sentenced to eleven years for the kidnapping of Freddy Heineken and his driver Ab Doderer.
Hugo Ferrol was sentenced to seven years for the trafficking of heroin and cocaine. In November 1987 Ferrol was released after his sentence had been reduced.
On November 21, 1987, millionaire Abdul Wali, who divided his time between lavish homes in Malibu and Amsterdam, was convicted of conspiring to smuggle cannabis and heroin into the United States in order to finance anti-Soviet rebels in his homeland Afghanistan. The U.S. prosecutors described him as a “critical” force in a plot to import the drugs into the United States. I don’t know how much time Abdul Wali spent in jail, if at all, but in 1990 he appeared in a civil court case in the U.S., in a dispute about a Maserati dealership he just had bought in Santa Monica, California. Wali won that case in a Court of Appeal in 2002.
In 1988 John Ferrol (Hugo’s brother) and Azevedo Da Silva introduced Bettien Martens to Klaas Bruinsma and his men Etienne Urka, Geurt Roos and “Lesley”. Roy Adkins moved from London to Amsterdam, because the Brits were looking for him after they seized a shipment of 45,000 kg of cannabis, and also because of his connections with the IRA.
On May 2, 1988, Luciano de Angelis and Antonino Greco were assassinated in a car on a parking lot. The Cellini brothers, Dino, Gioff and Eddie, leaders of the Dutch branch of Cosa Nostra and business partners of Zwarte Jopie (Maurits De Vries) since the 1970s, brought them from Italy to kill Klaas Bruinsma, because of a rip deal. However, Bruinsma was tipped off and ordered to kill the killers.
In the 1950s and 1960s Dino Cellini ran the mob-backed Riviera Casino and Tropicana Club in Havana, Cuba, and later casinos in the Bahamas, for the New York gangster Meyer Lansky. When Dino and his brother Eddie were deported, they went to Europe. Dino Cellini ran a croupiers school in the United Kingdom, as well as gambling operations in London, together with George Raft. However, that came to an end when Scotland Yard found out about Cellini’s mafia connections in the U.S. Dino then moved his gambling operations to Rome, Hamburg and Amsterdam, where he and his brothers also were involved in the drug trade. In March 2010 there were rumours that Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro were working on a film biography of Cellini.
On September 17, 1988, the police intercepted three cannabis ships in the Wadden Sea, which were owned by Klaas Bruinsma.
During this time Sam Klepper and John Mieremet stole a shipment of drugs, worth 12 million U.S. dollars, from Egyptian drug lord Magdi Barsoum and his Yugoslav partners Becirovic and his underboss Joca Jocic. These guys wanted revenge. They belonged to
the powerful Surčin clan from Belgrado, who started out with car thefts, smuggling of petrol and cigarettes, and then quickly moved on to narcotics.
In April 1989 Ricardo R. lent 1.5 million guilders to Roy Adkins, who was managing Klaas Bruinsma’s drugs business. In May 1989 Ricardo lent 2.5 million guilders to a company belonging to Bruinsma and his consigliere John Engelsma. In the same year Ricardo and Engelsma themselves borrowed 200,000 guilders.
In 1989 Klaas Bruinsma hired Ron Ostrovsky to assassinate his friend Steve Brown. Brown, however, smelt a rat and finished his relationship with Ron Ostrovsky. Pretty soon after that, Brown was visited by Ferry Koch, who wanted Brown to collect a gambling debt for Sjaak Mercuur. Steve Brown refused. Ferry Koch then suggested ripping off Mercuur, and they became business partners. Koch also was best mates with ex-detective Martin Hoogland. Gerrie Hillen (his brother Eddy Hillen had been killed by the Chinese, with 13 bullets) and Steve Brown bought a shipment of cannabis from Hans Dufour, a gypsy gangster. However, they were ripped off. Brown then sold the cannabis to one Colonel Martin and his lieutenant Patrick from the IRA, and blamed Dufour when he couldn’t deliver the goods.
On September 17, 1989, small time drug dealer Jan Van Dijk went missing in Amsterdam, after he became the victim of a rip deal. He wanted to buy one kg of heroin for 60,000 guilders, went to the Head of the Zeedijk, but found out that the big heroin dealers were dislodged from there by the police. They were now hanging out in the coffee shops in the Korte Nieuwendijk, a two minutes walk, during which he was ripped and abducted.
On October 6, 1989, Klaas Bruinsma’s 36th birthday, Ferry Koch was liquidated in front of his house in Amsterdam-West. His liquidation was planned since 1981, because he was suspected to be a police informant, but actually Bruinsma was furious after Ferry had slapped him in the face, and in his position he couldn’t allow that to happen unpunished.
February 24, 1990. In the late 1980s Klaas Bruinsma was the biggest drug lord in Europe. His organisation yielded millions of guilders per day. Klaas Bruinsma wanted to retire from the criminal world, or at least have a sabbatical, but not after one last big deal, the “mother of all deals”. He imported 45,000 kg of black Pakistani cannabis, with a street value of more than 400 million guilders. However, on February 24, 1990 the cannabis was seized by the police. Klaas Bruinsma’s bodyguard Geurt Roos said it wasn’t surprising that the drugs were found, because Bruinsma couldn’t stop talking about the “mother of all deals”. Bruinsma was furious and held his employees and business partners responsible. He fined them, he wanted them to pay for his losses, but they stalled the payment of their “fines”, or downright refused to pay.
After that Klaas Bruinsma was on the downgrade. He started to use more and more cocaine and made plans to extort Dutch criminals and corrupt real estate traders. He suffered from fits of rage and psychological problems, like paranoia. Etienne Urka took over the leadership of the organisation.
On September 28, 1990, Roy Adkins, Klaas Bruinsma’s first man, was liquidated in the Nightwatch bar of the American Hotel in Amsterdam, by the Yugoslav mafia. It was said that Bruinsma ordered the liquidation after a quarrel with Adkins in club Yab Yum, then controlled by the Amsterdam Hell’s Angels, in which Adkins refused to back down to Bruinsma when Bruinsma demanded that Adkins would pay the “fine” Bruinsma had imposed on him after the failed “mother of all deals”.
On October 27, 1990, Lyubinko “Duja” Becirovic, head of the Yugoslav mafia in Amsterdam, was liquidated in his house in Amsterdam, also because he refused to pay a million guilders fine Bruinsma had given him. The liquidation was commissioned by Klaas Bruinsma. Becirovic’ underboss Joca Jocic became head of the Yugoslav mafia. Joca Jocic, aka Joca Amsterdam (born as Sreten Jocic), was a Serbian gangster from the Belgrade suburb of Surčin. Joca (“Jotsa” in Amsterdam) operated mainly in the Netherlands and became one of the strongest gangsters through his elimination of rivals while working as a hitman and took over the drug trade. He directly obtained his cocaine from contacts in Colombia and became known as the “Cocaine King”.
In the night of June 26, 1991, Klaas Bruinsma and Martin Hoogland, the ex-policeman who now worked for the Yugoslav mafia, had a fight in front of the Juliana’s bar, near the Amsterdam Hilton. At 4am Bruinsma (37) was killed by Hoogland, who shot him with four bullets in the chest and the head, because Bruinsma had threatened to kill his wife and children.
Bruinsma should have sticked to his last, but he wanted to expand his empire to the Red Light District, and forced the pubs and clubs there to use his gambling machines. If they refused, Bruinsma would send the Yugoslavs to deal with it. He could have pulled that anywhere in Amsterdam, but not in the Red Light District, the cradle of the gangland, where the local gangsters still had their pride. Martin Hoogland felt he was one of them. Further more, many of the old gangland remembered Bruinsma as the young, posh lad who sold cannabis to school kids.
After Klaas Bruinsma’s death, his bodyguard Charly Da Silva received 500,000 guilders for helping the police to recover two stolen paintings, one Frans Hals and one Jacob Van Ruisdael. With this money Charly returned to his homeland Chile, where he lived a quiet life.
On Wednesday July 3, 1991, Klaas Bruinsma, the most powerful mafia boss Holland has ever known, was cremated privately.
On June 30, 1991, Ronnie Ondunk started to work as a deputy manager at Roland Real Estate, a Yugoslav mafia front operation, of which Joca Jocic, now the boss of the Yugoslav mafia in Amsterdam and Ondunk’s brother in law, was the main financier. Roland was also laundering money for Steve Brown. When later that year Jocic had to flee to Belgrade because the Amsterdam police wanted him for shooting a cop during his arrest, Ronnie Ondunk started to fiddle the books and transferred one million guilders to one of his companies in Belgium.
Early July, 1991, Thea Moear emigrated to South America. She had lost Klaas Bruinsma, her buddy, business partner, and protector, and couldn’t stay in Holland.
On August 29, 1991, Sam Klepper and John Mieremet (Spic and Span) were arrested for the possession of firearms, for which the received a sentence of 18 months in prison. After they were released, they made a lot of money in the drugs and firearms business, and by blackmailing criminals like Willem Holleeder.
On March 5, 1992, Giovanni Martha (18) was liquidated in front of club Escape, by Mohammed (“Moummish”) Chekhchar. Giovanni died in the arms of his twin brother Gwenette. Right after Moummish was sentenced to 8 years in prison for this murder, he walked out of prison, undisturbed, with a fake leave-pass.
Martin Hoogland was planning to liquidate drug dealer Tony Hijzelendoorn, after Hijzelendoorn had rebuked him on March 18, 1992, for being under the influence of cocaine. On March 20, 1992, Martin Hoogland asked Steve Brown to set up a meeting with Hijzelendoorn, which could only mean one thing: he wanted him dead. That afternoon Steve Brown and his buddy Ronnie Ondunk visited Hijzelendoorn in his villa to warn him, but Hijzelendoorn didn’t take it serious, so they left. That evening Martin Hoogland went to the villa and shot Tony Hijzelendoorn 16 times.
In April, 1992, Steve Brown and Martin Hoogland were arrested for the assassination of Tony Hijzelendoorn. Ronnie Ondunk turned himself in, but was released as soon as the police knew that he had nothing to do with the liquidation. Brown was also released, on May 17, 1992, and received 80,000 guilders as compensation.
On April 21, 1992, the BMW of Klaas Bruinsma’s bodyguard Geurt Roos left the garage of his villa, and was riddled with bullets. Only it wasn’t Roos that was in the car, but Edwin Van Houten (19), who died on the spot. During his interrogation by the police about the incident, Ronnie Ondunk made incriminating statements about Martin Hoogland. By making these statements Ondunk was off the hook, but far from safe. In his statement he had revealed the involvement of Hoogland and the Yugoslav mafia with the preparations of Roos’ liquidation, and further more Jocic was pissed off with Ondunk because of the missing million from Roland Real Estate. So the Ministry of Justice flew Ondunk to the Costa del Sol in Spain, awaiting Martin Hoogland’s court case and conviction, and when Spain didn’t prove to be a safe place for Ondunk either, they flew him to Florida, later that summer.
Also in 1992, Rob Grifhorst (“the Builder”), the so-called “fifth member” of the Holleeder gang that kidnapped Freddy Heineken, because he laundered part of the money from the kidnap, threw a party for his buddies Willem Holleeder and Cor van Hout when they were released from prison.
In January 1993 former TV pirate station operator Pietje Hendriks was shot dead in a café on the Spaarndammerdijk. He was linked to the ecstasy trade.
On May 8, 1993, the Lebanese diamond and drug dealer Henie Shamel and his girlfriend Anne De Witte were liquidated in Antwerp. Some say that Jesse Remmers or Mohammed Rasnabe did it, while others, like Peter La Serpe, are sure that Siegfried Saez killed them. It was said that Henie Shamel had delivered a lot of drugs to Henk Rommy, aka “Black Cobra”, and that Rommy refused to pay the 1.3 million he owed Shamel. Rather he had Shamel killed and keep the money.
The Amsterdam police warned Rommy that Milete (“Momo”) Popovic, of Joca Jocic’ Yugoslav mafia, wanted to kill him. Henk Rommy, the Black Cobra, was later sentenced in the U.S. for smuggling ecstasy. He will probably be released on May 8, 2021.
In the summer of 1993 Martin Hoogland was sentenced to 20 years in prison; 10 years for killing Klaas Bruinsma and 10 years for killing drug dealer Tony Hijzelendoorn. Hoogland’s conviction was mainly built on crown witness Steve Brown’s statement. Brown left for the USA where he started a tourist business, which went bankrupt. After that he returned to Holland. In 2000 he graduated from law school.
In 1994 the police started the “City Peaks investigation” into the gang of Willem Holleeder, Cor van Hout and Rob Grifhorst, who bought the Casa Rosso nightclub and several brothels in Alkmaar. Also they were thought to be active in drug trafficking. In the same year Holleeder and Van Hout got a row and they ended their business relationship. Holleeder found himself a new partner: John Mieremet.
On December 12, 1996, Frits Adriaanse died peacefully. He was 69 years old. For the young Klaas Bruinsma, and many other guys, he had been a second father.
On May 28, 1998, there was a new attempt to liquidate Geurt Roos, this time at the Amsterdam Renaissance Hotel. Roos was shot in the knee, and once more survived.
On June 15, 1998, at 7.30am, Ronnie Ondunk (43) was liquidated in his office by the Yugoslav mafia. The fact that he was Joca Jocic’ brother in law, had kept him alive for another five years after he had double-crossed them.
On July 1, 1999, Debora Horstman was blown up with explosives in a car in Amsterdam. However, she wasn’t meant to be killed, but her boyfriend was. He was Milete (“Momo”) Popovic, right hand of Yugoslav mafia boss Joca Jocic, who planned to kill Henk Rommy, the Black Cobra.
On December 9, 1999, Steve Brown was shot in front of his house in Amsterdam. He was hit in the stomach and liver, but survived. He received € 11,363.00 in compensation from a fund which helps the victims of criminal violence.
In the summer of 2000, Thea Moear was arrested in Panama-City, together with her Italian partner Antonio Brusamolin. They were convicted to ten years in prison for conspiracy in smuggling drugs from Europe to Panama, in a yellow Opel (Vauxhall). The prosecutor demanded fifteen years for Moear and Brusamolin, and five years for the corrupt government official Oscar Osorio, because he co-operated with the prosecution. In fact Osorio had been in touch with the DEA since 1997. After his arrest in the summer of 2000, he immediately “sold out” Moear and Brusamolin. During the trial, the head of the DEA office in Panama, Jay Bergman, had a nice chat with the judge during lunch recess, although the DEA delivered the most important witness in the case.
On September 23, 2000, the gangster Jan Femer, aka “The Moustache”, was shot in the head in Amsterdam, in his VW Golf, after which he died. The police thought that the liquidation was commissioned by the Yugoslav mafia (Joca Jocic), but real estate trader Willem Endstra said that Willem Holleeder ordered the liquidation. Endstra was known as the “bank of the underworld”. He and Willem Holleeder used to be the best of mates, and Endstra invested in Holleeder’s gambling businesses.
Jan Femer was the right hand of gangster Mink Kok (“The Thinker”), and was in charge of paying bribes.
After this liquidation, Willem Holleeder broke up with his buddy John Mieremet, and found himself a new buddy: Dino Soerel. Both decided to leave the drug business behind, and to concentrate on extortion, in which they formed a partnership. People who knew Dino Soerel were struck with terror. One witness said, “He was the real king of the gangland, and everyone was afraid of him. One wrong eye movement, and you were dead meat.”
On October 10, 2000, Sam Klepper was liquidated in Amsterdam. He was 40 years old. A bodyguard who lived in the neighbourhood was bored and wanted to buy a TV. But Klepper didn’t want to spend money on a TV and said he had a TV in his penthouse, which they needed to pick up. As soon as they left the building, Klepper was shot. The bodyguard was carrying the TV, so he couldn’t draw his gun in time.
Sam Klepper’s funeral on October 17, 2000, was rather spectacular. Being a prospect member of the Amsterdam Hell’s Angels, the car with the coffin was escorted by hundreds Hell’s Angels on their motor bikes. There were fireworks in front of Police Headquarters, and the bells of the Westerkerk were ringing.
In November 17, 2000, Zoran Vrhovac (30), another Yugoslav gangster and a Dutch woman were assassinated at the Kobe Restaurant in Amsterdam, nust opposite the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal Police Station. The guys were part of Joca Jocic’ gang. Peter La Serpe declared that he and Jesse Remmers helped gathering the information that was needed for this operation.
On February 26, 2002, John Mieremet was shot in Amsterdam, by two guys on a motor cycle, after he had visited his lawyer Evert Hingst. Mieremet was hit in the leg and the stomach. Mieremet believed that Hingst set the whole thing up, because of a business dispute with Willem Holleeder and real estate trader Willem Endstra. He said that Holleeder kept part of the money that Mieremet had to pay the Yugoslav dealer Joca Jocic for the failed assassination of Cor Van Hout. Cor Van Hout was liquidated on January 4, 2003. Willem Endstra was liquidated on May 17, 2004. Evert Hingst was liquidated on October 31, 2005. Joca Jocic started to smuggle drugs in Bulgaria and was arrested in 2002. In Serbia, he took over companies with the Surčin clan. Joca was involved in the 2008 car bomb which killed journalist Ivo Pukanić in Zagreb. In June 2010 Joca Jocic was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Serbia, for the liquidation of another Yugoslav mafia member in 1995.
On July 2, 2003, Willem Holleeder was arrested for the possession of firearms. Three days later, when he was released, the police stopped him and his car was seized, because a gun was found in it. The car was not returned.
On October 14, 2003, Mohammed (“Moummish”) Chekhchar smoked a spliff in coffee shop Ruthles in Amsterdam, when Gwenette Martha walked in and shot him. Gwenette wanted to take revenge for his brother Giovanni, who was liquidated by Chekhchar in 1992. The police couldn’t prove it, so Gwenette was released. However, Gwenette always said that he would kill Moummish as soon as he would be a millionaire.
Gwenette Martha, aka “The Untouchable”, is a big, black man. He is very much liked in the Amsterdam gangland, because he loves to take the mickey out of the police. Once the observation team put a direction finder underneath his car, but Gwenette found the thing, removed it, and put it underneath one of the cars of the observation team, which was then followed by other cars of the team until they finally found out what happened. Another time, when the observation team was watching him and they thought they were unnoticed, he winked at them, stepped into his big car, put a blue flashing light on top of the car, and teared off.
On December 6, 2003, Bulgarian mobster and drug trafficker Konstantin “Samokovetsa” Dimitrov was shot dead on Dam Square in Amsterdam. At the time of his murder, he was in the company of the famous Bulgarian model Tsetsi Krassimirova, who was wounded in the forehead by a ricocheting bullet. Dimitrov was 33 years old. He was wanted for organized crime, murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery and kidnapping. The gunman was chased by members of the public and later apprehended in a pub, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
In 2003 Danny Kuiters, a.k.a. as ‘Danny Daimler’ and ‘the Skinny One’, is arrested and convicted to 12 years imprisonment for the robbery of money transport company in Amsterdam in 1996. Kuiters sticks to his story that he had nothing to do with the robbery. In prison Danny is frequently visited by freefight professional Dick Vrij, Willem Holleeder, Dino Soerel, and Charles Zwolsman. In 1992 Danny Kuiters was convicted for a bank robbery in Vinkeveen. Danny grew up in the family of Jesse Remmers, also in Vinkeveen, and his father, Peter Kuiters, is a well known gangster, who was a business partner of Sam Klepper.
January 2, 2004: Colombian drug dealer Diego Ortiz-Rodriguez (34) and his 18-year old Nicaraguan girl friend Alejandra Saeuz Silva are shot dead in a house in the Brentanostreet, near Strandvliet in Amsterdam-Zuidoost (South-East). A quarrel between Ortiz-Rodrigues and his right hand, Amir Ahlfeld from Amsterdam, was probably the cause of the liquidation. The Court sentenced Ahlfeld to twenty years imprisonment. Some years before Rodriguez himself had been sentenced for a liquidation. Amsterdam gangster Saïd Fakir was involved in this assassination, and was sentenced to five years imprisonment for it.
On March 18, 2004, Martin Hoogland, then 47, was liquidated. While doing the remaining ten years of his sentence in an open prison in Hoorn, he was riding his bicycle in town, to do some shopping, when a man, allegedly Boneka Belserang, shot him off his bike. The half-Indonesian Boneka Belserang was only 30, but he was well known in the Amsterdam gangland.
In May 2004 Willem Holleeder’s driver’s license was seized for speeding. Holleeder tried to get his driver’s license back, saying that his life was in danger, so he had to use an armoured car. On July 5, 2004, the court said it was plausible that Holleeder couldn’t find a driver because of the death threats, and his driver’s license was returned to him.
On 17 May 2004 real-estate tycoon Willem Endstra was liquidated in front of his office in Amsterdam. Endstra was convicted of money laundring and was known as “the banker of the underworld”. Before he was killed he said to the police that he was extorted by Willem Holleeder and Dino Soerel. He recorded every relevant conversation he had with “business associates”. These recordings are called the Endstra tapes.
On May 28, 2004, drug dealer and gangster Gijs van Dam Jr., 37 and disabled, was shot in the head while he sat in a car in the driveway of his home, just after he got out of his wheelchair. He died soon after arriving at the VU hospital in Amsterdam. Van Dam’s five-year-old son was sitting next to him at the time of the shooting. Two gunmen escaped the scene by car and police found the burning vehicle abandoned not far from the scene of the shooting. The suspects reportedly transferred to a second car and a helicopter was called in to assist the search. However, the police failed to track the shooters down. Van Dam Jr. was the son of well known Amsterdam criminal Gijs van Dam Sr., who was deeply involved in the import of cannabis in the 1970s and 80s, and was in business with crime boss Sam Klepper. Van Dam Sr. was sentenced to 20 years jail in France at the start of the 1980s but was released after serving just a couple of years. Van Dam Jr. had previously survived an attempt on his life in December 2002 when he was shot by two men on a motorbike in front of his former home in Amsterdam-Buitenveldert. He had been in a wheelchair ever since. He was also kidnapped at a young age in October 1985 and the kidnappers demanded NLG 8 million in cash as ransom. The final resting place of Van Dam Jr. is close to the grave of criminal Cor van Hout, who was shot and killed in Amstelveen in January 2003. Van Hout is best known for his role in the kidnapping of beer magnate Freddie Heineken in 1983. Gijs van Dam Jr. and Willem Holleeder were not the best of friends after Van Dam married Holleeder’s ex-wife.
On September 20, 2004, two members of the Amsterdam Hell’s Angels were expelled; one of them was president Big Willem Van Boxtel. Real estate trader Willem Endstra had ordered them to liquidate Willem Holleeder, but they refused to do it. Yet Holleeder thought it wasn’t safe to keep them on, so they had to leave. Willem Holleeder and vice-president Harry Stoeltie were regarded as the true leaders of the Amsterdam Hell’s Angels.
In 2005, Thea Moear was released from prison in Panama-City and returned to Holland.
On 27 October 2005 ‘ndrangheta kingpin Sebastiano Strangio, who lived for 10 years in the Netherlands where he managed his contacts with Colombian cocaine cartels, was arrested in Amsterdam. The ‘Ndrangheta is the mafia of the poor, southern Italian region of Calabria. The Calabrian mafia, which many police and prosecutors believe has overtaken the Cosa Nostra to become Italy’s top crime syndicate, controls much of the cocaine trafficking into Europe from Latin America. The seaports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam are used to import cocaine. The Giorgi, Nirta and Strangio clans from San Luca have a base in the Netherlands and Brussels (Belgium). ‘Ndrangheta clans purchased almost an entire neighbourhood in Brussels with laundered money originating from drug trafficking. On 5 March 2004, 47 people were arrested, accused of drug trafficking and money laundering to purchase real estate in Brussels for some 28 million euros. The activities extended to the Netherlands where large quantities of heroin and cocaine had been purchased by the Pesce-Bellocco clan from Rosarno and the Strangio clan from San Luca.
On 31st October 2005 former barrister Evert Hingst, who worked for Mink Kok, Stanley Hillis and other criminals and was arrested many times on suspicion of money laundring, was shot dead with a machine gun in Amsterdam. Hingst was believed to be “Sentaro”, the mysterious guy who infiltrated the Amsterdam gangland and provided the police with important information. However, others – like ex-secret service agent Paul Herrie who did the same thing for the other side — say that “Sentaro” was Amsterdam gangster Jules Jie, who was liquidated in October 2003, together with his Thai girlfriend, because he was an informer “who talked his head off”.
On November 2, 2005, John Mieremet was liquidated in Thailand. On the same day Kees Houtman (“Kees Coffee”), who was also part of The Thinkers, was liquidated in Amsterdam-Osdorp, near his villa, by Giuseppe (“Peter”) La Serpe, aka “Dirty Peter”, and Jesse Remmers, son of the Amsterdam drug baron Greg Remmers, who had connections with the Colombian Cali-cartel. In 2006 Peter La Serpe was so afraid to be assassinated himself, that he turned himself in and made a deal with the prosecution.
On November 10, 2005, Sam Klepper’s cousin George van Cleef, also part of The Thinkers, was liquidated. At 8.15pm he was killed by two men near his houseboat in Amsterdam-Buitenveldert. Gunmen cycled up to George van Kleef, 44, and shot him dead as he left his boating club.
2006. Peter Kuiters dies. His son Danny Kuiters is unable to come to the funeral, as he is in prison. The Amsterdam CID took photographs while they were hiding in the shrubs of the cemetary, and saw how gangsters like Charles Zwolsman, Jessie Remmers and Dino Soerel gathered round the coffin to say goodbye to their friend.
On January 30, 2006, Willem Holleeder was arrested for extortion and grievous bodily harm of real estate traders.
On April 20, 2006, publican Thomas Van Der Bijl was liquidated in his pub “De Hallen” in Amsterdam, while he was vacuuming the pub. The killers were Dwight Saro, who did the shooting, and Remy Habes, who was on the lookout. Both men didn’t know each other before the liquidation, and both stated later that Fred Ros had pushed them to do it. They escaped the scene in a silver-grey Audi A4 with fake registration plates. They threw the murder weapon, a 9mm Ruger, in a canal. The gangland suspected Van Der Bijl of giving incriminating statements about Willem Holleeder to the police. Thomas Van Der Bijl had helped Holleeder and Cor Van Hout to their getaway car after the Heineken kidnapping, and he brought them some of the ransom money they had hidden in the woods, which was handed over to Rob Grifhorst (“The Builder”), who laundered the money and invested it in real estate in the Red Light District. After their release in 1992, Thomas Van Der Bijl became a member of their criminal organisation, but when Holleeder and Van Hout fell out with each other in 1996, Van Der Bijl chose the side of Cor Van Hout. Holleeder has never forgiven him.
In the summer of 2006 Fred Ros was arrested on a camping site in the Spanish Costa Brava, on suspicion of organising this liquidation. He had hired Saro and Habes for the job, because Peter La Serpe and Jessie Remmers refused the assignment on the last minute.
With the arrest of professional football player Donny Huysen in 2006, in connection with cocaine trafficking, another former Ajax colleague, Mike Offenberg, came into the picture. Mike was the son of Rob Offenberg, a childhood buddy of Heineken kidnappers Willem Holleeder and Cor van Hout, and Alida van Dam, daughter of drugs dealer and gangster Gijs van Dam Sr. Alida is the half-sister of Gijs van Dam Jr., who was liquidated in May 2004. Alida van Dam’s home in the Rijswijkstraat in Amsterdam was raided by the police in 2006, in connection with the drugs trafficking. Donny was sentenced to five years in prison. After their release from prison, Holleeder and Van Hout used to watch their protégé Mike Offenberg and his mate Donny Huysen play, but they made a fool out of themselves in the stadium, throwing with money, and embarrassed the young professional football players, who shortly afterwards decided to give up football and follow the footsteps of Mike’s grandfather Gijs van Dam Sr.
In December 2007, the City of Amsterdam revoked the license of nightclub/brothel Yab Yum, which supposedly had been controlled by the Amsterdam Hell’s Angels (ergo Willem Holleeder) for many years. In January 2008 Yab Yum was closed. The Hell’s Angels controlled a lot of the cocaine trade, and some of the prostitution in Amsterdam. They were also the guys you went to if you needed a gun or a hitman. In August 2008 a financial investigation showed that there had been no money-flow from Yab Yum to the Hell’s Angels, which had been the reason to close the club.
In the summer of 2008, Klaas Bruinsma’s ex-bodyguard Geurt Roos was arrested for extortion and grievous bodily harm of real estate traders.
On August 11, 2008, gang leader August Adjoeba was liquidated in Amsterdam. Both Adjoeba and gangster Brian Stein were witnesses in the killing of Stein’s bodyguard Rico Lopez, by Boneka Belserang.
Brian Stein was liquidated on October 14, 2008.
On October 19, 2008, gangster René Karamatali was shot dead. His assassinators hid his body in a sewer, where he was found on November 13, 2008. Karamatali was a friend of Brian Stein.
On May 6, 2010, Dwight W., the main suspect of the assassination of both Stein and Karamatali, was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Suspect Dewradj “Anand” J., owner of an Asian food store, stated that he was extorted by Karamatali and Stein, who had very violent ways of collecting money. He asked his friend Marion Van De L. to find a hitman, which she found in her boyfriend Dwight W. Marion helped Dwight to hide the bodies. Dewradj was sentenced to 18 years, Marion to 14 years in prison.
On February 4, 2009, Boneka Belserang, a childhood buddy of Gwenette Martha, and Yassin Chakor, were liquidated in a parking along the A4, near The Hague. The Amsterdam gangland believed that Belserang had liquidated ex-policeman Martin Hoogland.
On 12 March 2009 Italian mafia kingpin Giovanni Strangio (29), wanted over a vendetta killing of six ‘ndrangheta members in Duisburg, Germany in 2007, was arrested in the centre of Amsterdam, where he was living with his wife, his son, and his brother-in-law, Francesco Romeo. Giovanni was wanted by the Italian police since 1997, when he was 17, for being a member of a “mafiosi organization”. On July 12, 2011, Giovanni Strangio was sentenced to life in prison by an Italian court. Prosecutor Nicola Gratteri was pleased with the sentence and said, “Now it’s clear that the tentacles of the ‘ndrangheta are reaching far beyond the south of Italy”.
February 9, 2009, was the start of the so called “Passage” or “Liquidation Trials”, in which ten men and one woman are accused of committing a series of liquidations, and in which Giuseppe (“Peter”) La Serpe (“Dirty Peter”) is the crown witness for the prosecution, after a deal he made with the police and the prosecution. Peter La Serpe was promised a reduced sentence, a new identity, and a “loan”, to be able to build a new life after his release. Peter La Serpe confessed to the liquidation of Kees Houtman, together with Jesse Remmers, who is one of the suspects in the Liquidation Trials. Other suspects are Fred Ros, Ali Akgün, Sjaak Burger, Siegfried Saez, Gwenette Martha, and Dino Soerel. Dino Soerel and Willem Holleeder are suspected to be the big guys in the background of the liquidations.
The verdicts in the Liquidation Trials, aka the Passage Trials, are expected in the spring of 2011.
In March 2010, Peter La Serpe demanded that all his statements were dismissed from the trial, because the prosecution had received these statements unrightfully through lies and deception. La Serpe said that he and his family didn’t receive the protection they were promised, and that he didn’t receive enough money to live in safety after his release. Further more he said that the prosecution from the beginning has tapped and recorded “hundreds of phone calls with my lawyers”, to use this information against him. La Serpe refused to be a witness and he demanded an extensive investigation, in which he wanted to interrogate all the people who were involved in the agreements, including the prosecutors who made the promises.
There was a good reason why the police, as well as the old Amsterdam gang land, were saying, “They’re killing each other off. Let them. Good riddance to bad rubbish.” Never had the Amsterdam underworld known so much murderous violence. From March 1975 to March 2009, more than one hundred liquidations took place in the Amsterdam gangland; only 8 of them in the fifteen years before 1990, and more than 90 between 1990 and 2009. Sixty-six of the assassinated people were Dutch, twelve were Yugoslav, four were Arab/Moroccan, three were British, three were Turkish, three were Columbian, two were Belgian, two were African, two were Chinese, one was Italian, and one was Irish.
On 4 March 2009 property developer Peter Petersen was shot dead outside the Jan Tabak restaurant in Bussum. At 10am he was shot in the head in his black BMW X6, as he arrived on the parking lot of the restaurant. In the Amsterdam Gangland he was known as ‘Fat Peter’. He was a business partner of drug dealer Kees Houtman, and he was probably extorted by Willem Holleeder. Holleeder forced Petersen to “buy” the sex club Satyricon from him, after which Petersen was supposed to return the club to Holleeder.
About one year later twelve suspects were arrested, one of them being real estate dealer Chris Kraijpoel, owner of the Amsterdam discotheque Mazzo. After another year the police dropped all charges against Chris Kraijpoel, accept a allegation of money-laundring, which Kraijpoel has always denied.
On March 25, 2009, the police discovered the body of Korean Onno Kuut (he was adopted), in the dunes near Hoek van Holland. On February 4, 2009, Kuut had an engagement with Boneka Belserang and Yassin Chakor. Both Belserang and Chakor were liquidated on the same day. Onno Kuut was a member of the “Tattoo Gang”. Kuut and Chakor knew each other.
July 3, 2009. After an appeal, Willem Holleeder was found guilty of extortion of businessmen Kees Houtman and Willem Endstra, (both liquidated), and sentenced to 9 years in prison.
On August 10, 2009, drug ripper Marlon Dalfour was shot in his car by four men, of whom three were arrested the next day. These were the brothers Cor and Brian Pijnen, and Jeroen S. All three had identical big tattoos with Chinese signs, meaning “be decisive”, especially on their backs. This gave them the name “Tattoo killers”. Exactly the same tattoos were found on the body of Onno Kuut, who was found liquidated in the dunes in February 2009, and on Evert Sijahailatua, who is on Interpol’s Most Wanted list because the police think he was the fourth man.
The Tattoo Gang, consisting of about 150 “soldiers”, seem to have taken over from the Hell’s Angels, who in the 1970s were used as hitmen. If you needed someone to be assassinated, like a snitch, a drug ripper, or anyone from a rival gang, you hired the Hell’s Angels. Assassinations were part of their inauguration rituals.
The police team investigating the Tattoo Gang are called the “Decisive” team.
On December 30, 2009, Dino Soerel was sentenced in absentia to 8 years in prison for leading a criminal network which organised the transport of ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and cannabis. On January 5, 2010, Dino Soerel was put on the Most Wanted List and the Interpol List for involvement with drug dealing and ordering liquidations.
Despite the fact that most of the rivalling gangsters were either liquidated or imprisoned, the liquidations continued. On August 4, 2010, Surinamese Clyde de Jesus, member of the gang of Boneka Belserang, August Adjoeba, and Brian Stein, was assassinated in Amsterdam. In 2005 these four men were involved with the death of the Antillean Rico Lopez, Stein’s bodyguard. In 2008 Adjoeba was liquidated; a few months later Stein’s body was found in the trunk of a car, and Belserang was liquidated in 2009. De Jesus was the last one that needed to be killed to complete the settlement.
On August 27, 2010, Dino Soerel, supposedly the King of the Amsterdam underworld, was arrested by a special squad in his Amsterdam apartment, owned by Jeroen van Stralen, where the police found two fake passports with Soerel’s picture, two wigs, several pairs of glasses. The details of Soerel’s whereabouts were given to the police by Ruud Smits, a contract builder from Purmerend who built Dino Soerel’s comfortable hiding place. Soerel had been hiding there for 4 years, and even was in disguise while he was in his apartment. His arrest caused a wave of astonishment, relief, and fear in the Amsterdam gangland. Astonishment to the less involved, relief to his enemies, and fear to his friends, because who would protect them now, and when would the police knock on their doors? A criminal court in Haarlem convicted Dino Soerel to 8 years in prison, for leading a criminal organization that as from the 1990s was trafficking drugs on a massive scale. Ruud Smits and his family entered a witness protection program. He and Dino Soerel knew each other from prison, in 2003.
On September 21, 2010, Dino Soerel was arrested in his prison cell, on suspicion of involvement with the liquidations of Kees Houtman and pub owner Thomas Van der Bijl. In connection with these cases the Dutch police wanted to talk to Gennaro C., a crucial witness. However, Gennaro C. was in a German Witness Protection Program and the German authorities refused to let him travel to Holland. So, on the request of the Defense of the Dutch suspects, a delegation of the Dutch Criminal Court and the Defense travelled to Germany to question Gennaro C.
On 21 February 2011, around noon, Stanley Hillis (“The Old Man”) was liquidated in his car in Amsterdam-Watergraafsmeer. Hillis was supposed to meet Donald Groen, who is connected to the Amsterdam Hell’s Angels. The National CID knew about this meeting and made sure that they had two detectives at the spot to record Hillis’ and Groen’s conversation. When two guys started to open fire at Hillis, there were several detectives in the area, but because of communication problems and many other fuck-ups they weren’t able to arrest them. However, they did manage to arrest Groen when he arrived a short time after the liquidation, but they had to release him. The entire assassination and the flight of the killers was filmed by a police helicopter.
On May 23, 2011, € 7 million of Klaas Bruinsma’s fortune was released by Swiss private bank Baumann & Cie in Basel, to be handed over to the rightful heirs. The money was seized initially, but had to be released. Not because of a technicality in court, as the Minister of Justice wants us to believe, but because of the fact that the children of soft drink producer Anton Bruinsma inherited one million euro each in 1984, and that they invested this money ever since. The Prosecutor wasn’t able to prove that Bruinsma’s millions came from criminal activities. This means that the Bruinsma heirs now should have access to the millions and could do with it whatever they please, weren’t it for the fact that it’s not clear who are entitled to (a part of) the money. Klaas Bruinsma’s younger brother Anton is the main claimer in these ongoing procedures.
On June 30, 2011, Chris Kraijpoel bought the club Yab Yum, the brand and the website for €4 million, while the actual value is estimated over €9 million. Kraijpoel desperately needed a general manager, as he was not allowed to manage the sex empire himself, because he still was a suspect in a money-laundring case. Kraijpoel expected the club to re-open its doors on January 1, 2012. Also he revealed his plans to open a Yab Yum Club in every significant city in the world, starting with London.
On Saturday night 9 July 2011 Alida van Dam (57), daughter of drugs dealer and gangster Gijs van Dam Sr., was kidnapped from her home in the Rijswijkstraat in Amsterdam-West. She was taken to a place outside Amsterdam, where she was released in the street by the police on Sunday morning 10 July, 2011. One person was arrested there. Two kidnappers were arrested in The Hague, and a fourth kidnapper shot himself dead. The motive of the kidnapping is not clear yet. Alida’s son, Mike Offenberg, has been connected with drugs trafficking and money laundring. His father Rob Offenberg was a childhood buddy of Heineken kidnappers Willem Holleeder and Cor van Hout, but died in a car accident in Belgium, after which Mike became Van Hout’s and Holleeder’s protégé. In 2005 the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIE) received a tip that Offenberg was exploiting a successful cocaine trafficking line with top gangsters Dino Soerel and Willem Holleeder. Supposedly they were sharing the profits equally amongst the three of them. Offenberg himself couldn’t leave the merchandise alone. In 2002 he was taken to a hospital by an ambulance, because he O.D.’d on cocaine. Mike Offenberg has an impressive criminal record. He was convicted for armed robbery, possession of firearms, extortion and fraude. Recently he was connected to money laundring schemes, in which he used the services of financial genius Edwin Denekamp, who used to work for Willem Endstra and Jan-Dirk Paarlberg. Endstra was liquidated on 17 May 2004, Paarlberg was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison on 8 June 2010, for money laundring and fraude. Click here to read more about this case.
On August 2, 2011, Amsterdam top gangster Mink Kok was arrested in Lebanon for trafficking 53 kilo of cocaine. Mink Kok had been convicted before for drug trafficking and possession of fire-arms. Kok began his drug career shortly after he dropped out of law school at University of Amsterdam, when he joined a Kibbutz in Israel. There, he learned Hebrew and made connections that he would later use in his ecstasy export business. He later made a name for himself for being known as the first person to export ecstasy from the Netherlands. After the death of Klaas Bruinsma Mink Kok worked with John Mieremet, Willem Holleeder, Dino Soerel, Stanley Hillis and Jan Femer. This extremely violent group had access to secret police files, which were delivered to them by former secret service agent Paul Herrie (in 2009 convicted to 2 years in prison for leaking state secrets). From 2005 to 2007 Mink Kok was in prison because he was a suspect in the case of the assassination of drugs baron Jaap van der Heijden in 1993. In 2007 he was released because the prosecution couldn’t prove Kok was guilty.
September 13, 2011: A new witness in the Liquidation Trials has been brought forward by the Prosecution. The witness testified about several liquidations in the spring of 1993, amongs them the killings of Yugoslavs Djordje Iliç and Selim Hadziselimovic at the Ouderkerkerplas, the killing of gym owner Tonnie van Maurik at the Amsterdam Altea Hotel, and the killing of diamond dealer Henie Shamel and his girlfriend Anne de Witte in Antwerp. Freek S., Nanpaul de B. and Pinny S. were arrested in connection to the liquidation of Van Maurik.
September 19, 2011: Rumour says that Rob Grifhorst (“the Builder”), the so-called fifth kidnapper of Freddy Heineken, has died in Spain, after being seriously ill for over a year.
September 21, 2011: Around 2.30am the third floor of the E-tower of the Courthouse at the Parnassusweg in Amsterdam-South was attacked with a heavy projectile. Two persons got away on a scooter. This part of the building is used by both the Court and the Prosecutor’s Office.
October 8, 2011: the Turkish gangster Senol Ayhan Tuna (46) was liquidated. His body was found in the boot of his car, near the town of Boxtel. The car was set on fire and the police had difficulties to find out if the body was a man or a woman. He could only be identified by DNA. Senol Tuna used to be Willem Holleeder’s bodyguard. In 2003 he was convicted for possession of firearms. In 2006 the police blew up the front door of his house in Amsterdam. Senal Tuna was also a suspect in the extortion cases against Willem Holleeder, and he was convicted for manslaughter of a drugs dealer. Turkish crime is not new to Amsterdam. In 1988 Frank Bovenkerk and Yücel Yesilgöz, two leading Dutch criminologists, published a book on the Turkish mafia. Dutch politicians tended to ignore the huge problem of ethnic crime in the big cities. Bovenkerk en Yesilgöz wrote that Amsterdam mayor Ed van Thijn (Labour Party) vetoed a decision to deal effectively with Turkish drug crime and the many drug related killings. Van Thijn did not want the police to conduct “razzias” against a major ethnic community in Amsterdam. Fear of being accused of racism has always been a major obstacle in the Netherlands to deal effectively with serious organised crime within ethnic communities.
On October 15, 2011 three men were arrested for the liquidation of Willem Endstra in May 2004. The main suspect, who is believed to have shot Endstra, is a 47-year old Russian citizen, who’s DNA matched the forensic material found at the crime scene. He was arrested in Poland. The other two suspects are Özgür C., (31), and his cousin Ali N. (25). Both men were arrested in 2006 in relation to the liquidation, but they had to be released in 2008. The police suspects them to have facilitated the liquidation, by supplying the Mercedes van used for observation, the getaway car, and last but not least the gun that killed Endstra.
On January 2, 2012, the Ministry of Justice announced that Willem Holleeder will not be prosecuted for any of the murders mentioned in the Liquidation Trials. Years of police investigation didn’t lead to substantial evidence to convict Holleeder. This means that Willem Holleeder will be a free man when he is released from prison at the end of January 2012.
On May 25, 2012 the Prosecutor in the Liquidation Trials demanded life sentences for Jesse Remmers, Dino Soerel, Siegfried Saez, Fred Ros, Ali Akgün and Mohammed Rasnabe. The case against Dino Soerel is a difficult one, as he had to be released on March 12, 2012, due to the fact that the Prosecution couldn’t produce sufficient evidence against him. The Prosecution kept their promise to Peter La Serpe, on whom’s confessions the Liquidation Trials are built, and only demanded 8 years imprisonment for his part in the liquidation of Kees Houtman. This means that Peter La Serpe will soon be a free man. The Court will probably pass their sentences early 2013.
June 1, 2012: Start of the “Tattoo Gang” trials. Jeroen S., Evert Sijahailatua (who is still on Interpol’s Most Wanted list) and the brothers Cor and Brian Pijnen are standing trial for a series of killings, amongst them the killing of Boneka Belsereng and Yassin Chakor, and the attempted liquidation of Marlon Balfour in 2009.
On July 12, 2012 the Court sentenced these members of the Tattoo Gang to twelve and twelve-and-a-half years imprisonment.
October 18, 2012: Najeb Bouhbouh, a friend of Gwenette Martha, is assassinated in front of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Antwerp. Both the Amsterdam gangland and the justice department think that the criminal group around Benaouf Adaoui is responsible for this liquidation. Marchano P. and Riba B. are believed to be the shooters.
December 29, 2012: Saïd el Yazidi (21) and Youssef Lkhorf (28), both from Amsterdam, were in a black Range Rover with French (Marseille) licence plates, when they were shot at in the Staatsliedenbuurt in Amsterdam. With them were a Northern-African man and a blonde man, who managed to get away. The perpetrators took off in two cars: a black VW Golf and a silver gray Audi. After this double liquidation they used their Kalashnikovs to shoot at two motorcycle policemen. The getaway cars and the Kalashnikovs were found in another part of the city.
On January 24, 2013 the Amsterdam police arrested Benaouf “Adil” Adaoui. in connection with the liquidation. Adaoui is a 24 year old kick boxer who was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment in 2008, for violent robberies. He tried to escape from the police by taking a dive into a canal, but they shot him in the leg and managed to catch him. Some insiders say that the liquidation was a pay-off in the Moroccan mafia, for a rip deal. Others believe that the gang of Gwenette Martha was behind the liquidation. Fact is that 200 kilo of cocaine were stolen in Antwerp from Dutch-Moroccan gangster Samir Bouyakhrichan. This was the start of the so-called “Staatsliedenbuurt” conflict.
January 29, 2013. It was a long day in Court. The Court ruled in the Liquidation Trials, starting with the procedure of the use of a crown witness – Peter La Serpe – by the Prosecution, saying that the Prosecution had made several mistakes, but these were not deliberate. Jesse Remmers, Mohamed Rasnabe and Siegfried Saez were sentenced to life long imprisonment. The court ruled that they were guilty of several liquidations in the Amsterdam gangland. In the case of Jesse Remmers the Court declared that he was found guilty of involvement with six liquidations, two liquidation attempts, and incitement to one liquidation. Fred Ros was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. In the case of the liquidation of gym owner Tonny van Maurik, Freek S., was sentenced to six years imprisonment. The Court ruled that he drove the killers to Tonny van Maurik, after which they liquidated him in a parking lot. Nanpaul de B. was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for the actual killing, while Pinny S. was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment, for ordering the liquidation of her former lover Van Maurik.
Dino Soerel, the “King of the Underworld” according the Prosecution, was sentenced to six months imprisonment, for laundering €25,000 and possession of fake passports, but he was acquitted of the liquidation of Kees Houtman and Thomas van der Bijl. Ali Akgün was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment, for laundering money. In the cases of Dino Soerel and Ali Akgün the Prosecution is going to appeal, and in the cases of Jesse Remmers and Mohamed Rasnabe their lawyers are also taking the case to a higher court. Siegfried Saez will probably do the same; these three men have nothing to lose, with a life long sentence.
January 30, 2013: Willem Jebbink, the solicitor of Sonja Holleeder (Willem Holleeder’s sister and widow to Cor van Hout) states that Sonja and the Prosecution have agreed on a settlement in connection to the ransom money that was paid in the Heineken kidnap case in 1983. Sonja paid one million euro “dispossession of criminal funds” and 100,000 euro fine, to avoid prosecution. Jebbink also states that his client “lives off a minimum income and doesn’t have a penny from Cor van Hout”.
May 27, 2013: Several months after his release from prison, Willem Holleeder is amongst the ten persons who are arrested on suspicion of being a member of a criminal organization. Another suspect is Danny Kuiters (Amsterdam, June 30, 1969), who was arrested together with his girlfriend Angela van H., the ex of football international Patrick Kluivert. Freefight professional Dick Vrij, a personal friend of Holleeder, until he hit Holleeder in the face a few weeks ago, was also arrested. The police believe to have caught the top of an organization that made millions with extortion and laundering drugs money.
June 14, 2013: ABC (“Amsterdamse Beroepscrimineel”, meaning Amsterdam professional criminal) Frank Iesberts (45) is assassinated in Amstelveen, near Amsterdam. He was the “godfather” of a group of young Moroccan criminals.
July 17, 2013: In Beirut, Lebanon, Mink Kok is sentenced to 8 years imprisonment and a 50,000 euro fine, for smuggling 53 kilos of cocaine. Also convicted were Kok’s accomplices, Irishman Sean Preston, and Palestinians Ibrahim Radi Chahine, and his son Radi Ibrahim. Kok, who apparently lived in Lebanon with the daughter of a rich business man, was arrested in the Lebanese town of Kaslik, in 2011.
November 15, 2013: Amsterdam criminal Saïd Fakir (6-12-1978) was assassinated this week, on the Korte Papaverweg in Amsterdam-Noord. Already on his eighteenth Fakir and a one of his friends shot down two porters who had refused to let them enter a club at the Thorbecke Square. That was the night of Saturday 13 to Sunday, September 14, 1997. The porters survived the shooting. Fakir was caught some time later. After he had served his time for that crime matter, five years to be precise, Fakir remained active in the Amsterdam gangland. According to insiders, he was involved in robberies, but he was never convicted for it. In another serious crime for which he was caught, and convicted to five years, Fakir played a supporting role. This was the double liquidation on January 2, 2004 in the Brentanostreet in the southeast of Amsterdam. The victims were 34-year-old Colombian drug trafficker Diego Ortiz Rodrigez and his seventeen year old Nicaraguan girlfriend Alejandra Silva Saenz.
December 27, 2013. Amsterdam gangster Gwenette Martha survives a liquidation attempt survived in Amsterdam South, because the gun of the attacker didn’t work. Martha got slightly injured in a struggle and the attacker escaped. 39-years old Gwenette Martha is seen as pivotal in a significant investigation of the police and the justice department into a series of fairly recent assassinations in Amsterdam’s criminal environment.
January 4, 2014: 39-year old Aytas Göraler was liquidated in Amsterdam, at 10.30 pm, with at least four bullets. Aytas Göraler was shot when he was carrying his 1,5 year old son in his arms and tried to get something from the car boot. His 8-year old daughter and his wife also witnessed the liquidation. Göraler was co-owner of club The Sand in Westpoort, together with Attila Önder, who also owns three coffee shops. According to the Amsterdam police, Willem Holleeder was worried about the fact that violent Turkish hash dealer Atilla Önder was gathering information about him. The police say that Önder was ‘best mates’ and a business associate of Kees Houtman. After Houtman’s liquidation the police took Atilla Önder in custody, but he refused to talk, because he feared that the Holleeder group would pop him off.
May 22, 2014: Top gangster Gwenette Martha (40), “the Untouchable”, was liquidated in Amstelveen, near Amsterdam, at 10 pm. Martha was only released from prison two days earlier, in connection with possession of illegal firearms. Previously Martha had been involved in a violent power struggle with the “Mocro-gangsters” (Ethnic Moroccan gangsters from Amsterdam) for at least 18 months. Martha was on their death list and he was prepared. Yet he didn’t stand a chance against the automatic firearms aimed at him. He died with a gun in his hand. Although most bullets hit the surrounding cars and buildings, eighty (80) bullets were found in Martha’s corpse. The police are looking for three men in a black BMW.
It will be interesting to find out how this could happen, as Martha was under constant surveillance from the police.
July 31, 2014: Marc B. (46), originally from Rome and owner of the Amsterdam restaurant Casa di David, was arrested on suspicion of providing the Italian mafia clan Ndrangheta with cocaine. The Italian police have requested his arrest. They claim to have proof that Marc B. for several years delivered cocaine to the Cacciola clan from Rosarno, Calabria (Southern Italy).
The Calabria based Ndrangheta is regarded to be the most powerful mafia organization in Europe, with a yearly turnover of 53 billion euro.
Marc B. was arrested before, in 2000, for drugs related crimes.
August 18, 2014: Shortly before midnight Dutch-Moroccan gangster Derkiaoui van der Meijden (34) was shot in Amsterdam. He was wearing a bullet-proof vest and died in hospital. Van der Meijden, a.k.a. ‘Derk” and “Piki”, was a suspect in the December 29, 2012 shootout in the Staatsliedenbuurt, in which Saïd el Yazidi (21) and Youssef Lkhorf (28), both from Amsterdam, were assassinated. Benaouf Adaoui, the main target in this assassination, managed to escape by jumping in a canal. According to Adaoui, Van der Meijden worked for people like Gwenette Martha, as a hitman. Martha himself was liquidated on May 22, 2014. Also, Adaoui and others are sure that Van der Meijden liquidated the Amsterdam gangster Patrick Brisban.
August 27: Dutch-Moroccan gangster Samir Bouyakhrichan (36), aka “Scarface”, was liquidated in Benahavis, near Marbella (Spain). He was shot by two persons while he was visiting a bar in a shopping mall. Bouyakhrichan was thought to be the owner of the 200 kilo cocaine, which were stolen from him in Antwerp, after which the “Staatsliedenbuurt” conflict started.
September 11, 2014: After the police warned him that he’s on a death list, Dick Vrij (49) has voluntarily returned to prison. (He was released on probation.) The fact that Dick Vrij, a freefight professional and one of Amsterdam’s top gangsters, chose this option, means that tension in the Amsterdam Gangland is rising. Other criminals chose to arm themselves or flee abroad. Dick Vrij was arrested in May 2013. Danny Kuiters and Willem Holleeder are thought to be his accomplices in a case of money laundering and extortion. Vrij and Kuiters are also thought to be behind the liquidation of Etous Belserang, the President of the Amsterdam chapter of the Satudarah bikers club.
September 15, 2014: The Prosecution in the Liquidation Trials have persuaded Fred Ros to be their next crown witness. With this new deal the Prosecution hope to be able to prove that Willem Holleeder was behind the liquidations of Kees Houtman, Cor van Hout and Thomas van der Bijl. The deal with Fred Ros is remarkable. In 2013 the Court sentenced him to 30 years in prison for his involvement with several liquidations, but with his new statements he will only have to serve 15 years.
September 18, 2014: Today, crown witness Fred Ros stated that the liquidation of Cor van Hout was executed by Jesse Remmers and a man called “Willem the Window Cleaner”. However, the defense lawyers are sure that “Willem the Window Cleaner” and Fred Ros are one and the same person.
November 5, 2014: Freefighter and gym owner Hans Nijman (55), business partner of Dick Vrij, was liquidated in Beverwijk, at 8.45 PM. Nijman was shot by automatic rifles, while he was driving his car. Earlier this week crown witness Fred Ros told the court that he used Nijman’s gym TopTeam to meet Dino Soerel and other gangsters.
December 8, 2014: At 7.30 PM Luana Luz Xavier (34) was liquidated in Amstelveen. She was the girlfriend of an Amsterdam top-gangster, Najib “Ziggy” H., who has been in hiding since the liquidation of Gwenette Martha, in which circles he is a ringleader. The woman had a criminal record. Her two children witnessed the liquidation.
December 9, 2014: Gangster Murat Garki (25) was shot in Amsterdam at 11 PM. Garki belonged to the gang of Atilla Önder, and he was befriended with Önder’s son Baris.
Garki and Baris Önder were suspects in the murder of Aytas Göraler, the former owner of Discotheque The Sand, who was assassinated on January 4, 2014.
December 13, 2014: Willem Holleeder has been arrested for his part in the liquidation of two persons. After a statement of crown witness Fred Ros, Willem Holleeder was arrested early this morning for his alleged part in the liquidation of Thomas van der Bijl and Kees Houtman. Last year crown witness Peter La Serpe stated the same.
December 24, 2014: Only a few hours after his mate Ali Akgün was liquidated in Istanbul, Vedat Sahin. was also liquidated there. Vedat Sahin was the brother of top criminal Sedat Sahin. Vedat was shot by two men with Kalashnikovs, from a passing car.
December 31, 2014: Turkish criminal Okan Fidan (44) was liquidated in Amsterdam. In 2007 Fidan was a bodyguard of a Turkish drugs dealer. He was fired after the drugs dealer was severely wounded in an attempt to blow his car up.
February 8, 2015: Amsterdam drugs wholesaler Mario Magan Tier was liquidated in Amsterdam. He was befriended with Delano B., Ali Akgün (liquidated in Istanbul), and Gwenette Martha (liquidated in Amstelveen.
March 1, 2015: Amsterdam criminal Marchano P. was liquidated in a bar in Paramaribo, the capital of Surinam. Marchano P. and Riba B. were suspected of the liquidation of Najeb Bouhbouh in Antwerp, on October 18, 2012.
April 26, 2015: Amsterdam criminal Baris Önder (26) was liquidated in his Audi, near his house in Amsterdam. His friend Murat Garki, who was liquidated in December 2014, and Baris Önder were suspects in the murder of Aytas Göraler, the former owner of Discotheque The Sand, who was assassinated on January 4, 2014.
June 4, 2015: Baris Önder’s widow Najoua (27), was nearly liquidated in front of her house in Amsterdam. She was severely wounded and taken to hospital.
June 9, 2015: This afternoon Amsterdam gangster Lucas Boom (“Puk”) was liquidated in Zaandam. Lucas Boom was Willem Holleeder’s “strong man”, from 2012 to 2014. In the past he was part of Stanley Hillis’ gang.
November 5, 2015: Two men with automatic rifles tried to liquidate Peter Raap (“Pjotr”) in Diemen at 2.00 PM. Peter Raap (44) was part of the Stanley Hillis gang.
November 28, 2015: Two men were shot down in Amsterdam New West this afternoon. One of them died. The other man is bar owner Peter Lingg, one of gangster John Cunningham’s “managers”, who exchanged over €10 million worth of British and Irish currency at one Bureau de Change in Amsterdam, between 1998 and 2000. The money was payment for drug shipments.
Some of these criminals, like Klaas Bruinsma, Steve Brown and Martin Hoogland, didn’t come from a criminal milieu. They were extremely intelligent, but they also were extremely attracted to the Amsterdam gangland. I think there are many people, especially policemen, prison guards and probation officers, who feel that way. I have seen police detectives, prison guards, and probation officers change before my eyes, up to a point that they resembled gangsters, sometimes even deliberately. There are two sides of the law, and the line between them is incredibly thin. Some will actually cross that line, but many of us only dream of crossing it. The way back though is difficult, if not impossible.
In the same sense it’s amazing to see how many intelligent, well educated, (middle class) women are attracted by gangsters. These women tend to like the rebelliousness and notoriety of their lovers, even if they are sentenced to life. One of my clients was a gangster who killed four people; two of them were women. He was sentenced to life, spent some time in prison, and then was transferred to a psychiatric prison hospital for the rest of his sentence. There he married his therapist. His sentence was reduced because of good behaviour. After his release he and his wife stayed together for another 9 years, but even after she left him (because of his severe alcohol abuse), they kept having a friendly relationship, until he died.
Some other criminals mentioned in this chapter were also my clients. As soon as they were arrested and they – truthfully or not — confessed to be drug or alcohol addicts, their files landed on my desk, and if they didn’t, because they had connections with other probation officers previously, these criminals would ask for me, because I understood where they were coming from, and I would be able to help them in court, and after.
One of my clients’ problems was that sometimes all their money and possessions would be confiscated, and all their bank accounts would be frozen as soon as they were arrested. This meant that they couldn’t always hire the barristers of their choice, so they would be stuck with a legal aid counsellor. Many times I was confronted with an utterly inexperienced legal aid counsellor, minutes before the trial, asking me, “Sorry sir, could you please explain to me once more what the difference is between cannabis and heroin?”
And all I could reply was, “Listen mate, just introduce yourself to the court, then sit down and shut up. Let me do the talking.”
I spent much of my conscious childhood and many years when I was an adult in the Red Light District. Without realising it at the time, I adopted part of the behaviour (the way to walk, dress code, speech, jokes, tattoos, cars, etc.) of the gangsters I was surrounded with. Although to me they weren’t gangsters, but fellow-residents, buddies even. In those days I didn’t even know what crimes they committed, if at all, and I didn’t want to know, because it was none of my business. That’s probably why I always had a good relationship with them, even after I became a probation officer.
Luckily, pulling beer in a Red Light District bar doesn’t give you a criminal record.
I didn’t make much use of my fancy office in the Ministry of Justice in The Hague, but when I was there, colleagues of other departments would approach me, like when more and more top prosecutors went over to “the other side”, meaning that they would rather defend top criminals for top salaries than prosecute them for a pittance. All I could say was, “Offer them a top salary,” which they eventually did. It was hardly a revelation, because Gerard Toorenaar had said it many times before, while he was police commissioner.
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