Threat against Rotterdam cops posted to Telegram leads to arrest: Report

Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, and Telegram apps
Icons for the Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, and Telegram apps displayed on a phone in 2018inkytapeDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

An investigation into the source of threats against specific police officers posted in a Telegram chat group led to the arrest of a 23-year-old man from Papendrecht. The man is suspected of using the app to share photos of the two Rotterdam officers with a message promising money in exchange for personal information about them, according to RTL Nieuws.

Sharing a photo of an officer and seeking out their identity or address is not illegal, a spokesperson for the Public Prosecutor's Office told the broadcaster. That changes when an actual threat is included with the posting.

It was not revealed when the man was arrested. The suspect was released from custody while the case remains under investigation. It has not been decided if the case is strong enough to be prosecuted.

In its investigation, RTL Nieuws also found other chat messages offering hundreds of euros in exchange for the private information of various police officers.

While used by thousands of legitimate businesses, organizations, and social circles worldwide, Telegram chat groups are often also used by criminal networks. The app has popped up in Dutch court cases involving drug trafficking, jihadist propaganda, terrorism planning, and attacks on Uber drivers and the LGBT community.

Dutch intelligence service AIVD called on politicians to restrict encryption use in the app as much as possible. The intelligence agency said it wants to be able to spy on communication in the app to gather information and prevent major crimes from taking place.