Dutch MPs want to double the punishment for hand grenade use, possession

Police and explosive experts at a sisha lounge on Jan Evertsenstraat where a hand grenade was found tied to the door of a sisha lounge, 1 Feb 2019
Police and explosive experts at a sisha lounge on Jan Evertsenstraat where a hand grenade was found tied to the door of a sisha lounge, 1 Feb 2019. (Photo: @Politie_Adam / Twitter)

The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, wants to double the prison sentence for using or possessing a hand grenade from four to eight years. Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security approves of this proposal, AD reports.

Hand grenades are increasingly being used to settle debts in the criminal underworld, and to intimidate business owners. The number of incidents involving hand grenades doubled last year. And the counter for 2019 already stands halfway to the 2018 total, according to the newspaper. These extremely cheap explosives are also increasingly used in ATM bombings. 

Minister Grapperhaus already announced that he plans to double the punishment for the use and possession of automatic weapons, in the fight against organized crime. But the CDA and D66 want to go further and also double the punishment for hand grenade use and possession. People who use a hand grenade are out to make victims, the parties argue, and take an even bigger risk of hitting innocent bystanders. The two government parties have the support of a Kamer majority on this proposal.

Hand grenade use is a particular problem in Amsterdam. So far this year hand grenades were left at coffeeshop Siberia on Brouwersgracht, coffeeshop New Times on Spuistraat, on Eerste Coehoornstraat, and at club Mad Fox at the Hotel W Amsterdam. The Amsterdam police, Prosecutor, and mayor decided to launch a task force with the goal of investigating what measures the municipality can take to reduce these incidents.  

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