MMA champion gunned down overnight

The man who was killed in a shooting incident in Beverwijk last night, has been identified as mixed martial arts fighter Johannes Petrus Nijman, known as Hans Nijman.

Although Nijman has never figured in major criminal cases, he has been known to associate with various figures from the criminal underworld and his name has been mentioned by informants in relation to serious crimes.

Nijman owned a gym with known criminal and champion fighter Dick Vrij. Together Nijman and Vrij tried training new champion fighters in their gym in Beverwijk. Vrij and Nijman's contact with prominent figures from the so called Dutch Networks in crime, who include Danny K., Dino Soerel, Ali A. and Willem Holleeder, were an open secret. Vrij  acted in the foreground more often than Nijman.

Shortly before he was killed in 2004, real estate magnate Willem Endstra named Nijman as a member of the group of criminals who extorted businessmen. In the investigation of the criminal organization around Holleeder, investigators found some support for that assertion, but not enough to arrest Nijman.

Holleeder has also often used the names of Vrij and Nijman, supposedly without their knoledge, to threaten his extortion victims.

During his first public hearing as key witness in the Amsterdam Passage execution case on Tuesday, Fred Ros told the court how he used Vrij and Nijman's gym to reach Dino Soerel. It is notable that Nijman was killed only a day after Ross testified for the first time.

Dick Vrij has been in jail since September at his own request and for his own safety. The prosecution warned him that he is on a hit list.