Threatened Enschede lawyer knows the men who shot him: report
Lawyer Philippe Schol was walking his dog some 50 meters from his home on Lossersestraße in Gronau when he was shot by persons in a passing car at around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The victim told neighbors who rushed to help him that he was shot by two men he knows and that they were driving a Volkswagen Polo, the neighbors told newspaper AD.
Neighbor Jan Wilke told the newspaper that he heard three gunshots. He first called emergency number 112 and then rushed outside. He saw Schol stumbling with his hands on his thigh and screaming in pain, before he collapsed. More neighbors came out with pressure bandages, trying to stop the bleeding on Schol's left thigh. The lawyer was in and out of consciousness, but in between told his neighbors that he knew the men who shot him.
Emergency services arrived and Schol was rushed to the hospital. Both the German and Dutch police launched a massive search for the perpetrators, calling on the public to keep an eye out for people with a "southern appearance" driving a small, white passenger car, according to AD.
Schol works from a law firm in Enschede and often works as bankruptcy administrator, according to Tubantia. Carl Luttikhuis, dean of the Bar Association in Overijssel, told the newspaper that the attack on Schol may be connected to his work as administrator in the bankruptcy of gym chain Olympic Gym.
Olympic Gym in Hengelo was declared bankrupt in July last year. Schol reported theft from the estate of the bankrupt gym to the police and held the owner personally liable for damages amounting to 2.4 million euros, Tubantia writes based on the latest bankruptcy report. The bankruptcy of branches in Tubbergen and Losser followed later. The Losser location restarted under a new owner and new name De Sport Fabrik.
In April of this year, the Olympic Gym building in Hengelo was vandalized. The words [translated from Dutch] "stay away" and "Ronald fat dog" and a cross were spray painted on its facade. According to Tubantia, the Ronald in the graffiti refers to Ronald Boevenbrink, the former owner of Olympic gym. Shots were fired at the Losser location early last month.
"The gym in Losser was shot at on 3 October. That was exactly one year from the date of the bankruptcy ruling. Philippe Schol is an administrator in this bankruptcy and I know that he has been in quite the conflict with the director of this gym", Luttikhuis said to the newspaper. "The threat posed by this was taken very seriously by the Bar Association and, in consultation with the authorities, the maximum was done to counter the threat. We do not know anything for sure, but I certainly do not exclude the possibility that this attack has to do with his position as bankruptcy administrator. This is too much of a coincidence."
Luttikhuis is shocked by the attack, but not really surprised. "It is certainly not the case that drug crimes and organized crime are concentrated in Amsterdam and Utrecht. It has been known for some time that more undermining crime, such as drug production facilities, is increasingly common in Eastern Netherlands. So it is not surprising that you get related crimes here."
Gronau is located in Germany, just across the border from the Twente village of Glane in Overijssel.