Price tag on Amsterdam assassinations as low as €3,000: police chief

Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg
Dutch police commissioner Aalbersberg, leader of the repatriation mission. Source: Twitter/Karel van Oosterom/@KvanOosteromDutch police commissioner Aalbersberg, leader of the repatriation mission. Source: Twitter/Karel van Oosterom/@KvanOosterom

The Amsterdam police are very concerned about the type of perpetrators involved in assassinations in the city. They often involve young amateurs, who will kill someone for as little as 3 thousand euros, Amsterdam police chief Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said to local broadcaster AT5 while discussing a recent shooting in which 17-year-old Mohammed Bouchikhi was killed at a community center on Grote Wittenburgerstraat.

"In the 80's and 90's, professional hitmen from abroad came here for 50 thousand euros. In recent years we see young boys from Amsterdam. And that could well be the case in this case." the police chief said. "We sometimes now hear amounts of between 3 thousand euros and 5 thousand euros for an assassination. And with that, the amateurism, the uncontrollability and the brutality of the violence are a new concern for us."

According to Aalbersberg, there is a pattern among the perpetrators: "disadvantaged, little prospects, little conscience awareness. And that is a dangerous mix to be tempted into this kind of business." He could not say how many such young perpetrators are on the loose in Amsterdam. "We often see boys who were not yet known to us. And sometimes also from the Top 600 [most wanted perpetrators], for example."

The police are working with the Amsterdam municipality and Public Prosecution Service to try and figure out how such young men are persuaded to do this kind of brutal violence. "Yes, all the focus is on detecting and bringing to justice, but in the end we want this not to happen and we can prevent this."

Aalbersberg also said that gang-related assassinations take up a lot of the Amsterdam police's capacity, leaving them little time for other cases. "We are dealing with assassinations for 60 to 70 percent, and for the rest mainly with radicalization and terrorism investigations."

This leaves little time for tackling large-scale drug trafficking, for example. "We do not get to the structural investigation enough: the real bosses in the international drug trade. And we know: in a capital with this infrastructure, with the extent of drug use in the city, of course this is a part of the cause of assassinations: quarrels, competition, seized parties of drugs and interests in cocaine trade.", he said to the broadcaster. 

"On the one hand, we have a user market that actually does not go wrong often, which seems almost normal, but we have to realize that behind that enormous flow of drugs in the city, there is huge organized crime. But we also have to be realistic: in this city there is also a huge market of consumption. Behind all the drug consumption is also a market of supply. That is also a reality in which we live, but there really needs to be more focus on the top of the drug trade", Aalbersberg said. 


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