Organized crime increasingly target Rotterdam port workers: Report

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Criminals increasingly approach Rotterdam port workers to perform odd jobs, such as approaching custom workers about not checking certain containers or asking other port employees to point pick-up-men to containers containing drugs, police chief of Zeehaven Jan Janse said to the Telegraaf. About one in seven Rotterdam port employees have been approached by a criminal at least once, the newspaper reports.

This first ever study on port workers being approached by criminals was launched due to the major drug trafficking problem currently facing the Port of Rotterdam. The amount of cocaine intercepted at the port increased significantly over the past five years. In 2016 more cocaine was intercepted than in the previous two years together. 

"To understand the magnitude of this problem we conducted a survey of over 200 truck drivers and terminal workers", Janse said to the newspaper. "The results confirmed our suspicion that a lot of workers are approached by criminals." That involved about one in seven port workers and one in ten truck drivers. 

Janse acknowledges that the survey was done on a small scale. "But it is the first time that we here about this from the port workers themselves. Given the percentage, we are dealing with a serious problem."

According to Janse, the police arrested over 60 people sent to pick up drugs at the port over the past three years. More were arrested on suspicion that they were there to collect drugs. 

Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, the police and the Public Prosecutor in Rotterdam are very concerned about drug trafficking at the port and the corruption that goes with it. This problem is now also given higher priority at national level. "All information about corruption is going to a central point for further analysis and action." Janse said.