"Drug mafia" behind Belgian Min.'s attempted abduction; Justice Ministers meeting today
“Everything indicates that it comes from the coroner of the drug mafia,” Belgian Justice Minister Vincent van Quickenborne said on Op1 on Thursday about an attempt to abduct him. He went into hiding after concrete indications that the drug mafia wanted to kidnap him. “I think we have entered a new phase. That is the narco-terrorism phase,” he said. Ministers from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain are meeting in Amsterdam today to discuss the organized crime approach.
Dutch Justice Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius is convinced that the Netherlands, in collaboration with other countries, will win the fight against organized crime. “It is a fierce battle,” she said on Op1. “But it is unthinkable that you give up the fight.” She stressed that drug lords could not be allowed to take over, like in countries like Mexico. “I’m not saying we’re going that way, but I’m also not saying it’s unthinkable if you give up the fight.”
On Friday, Yeşilgöz-Zegerius will host the European conference on tackling organized crime. In addition to Ministers and representatives from the above-mentioned countries, representatives of the European Commission, Europol, and Eurojust will also attend. Yeşilgöz-Zegerius hopes to broaden the current tactical and operational cooperation to strategic cooperation.
The attempted abduction
On Saturday, September 24, the police arrested three Dutch people, aged 20, 29, and 48, in The Hague and Leidschendam for attempting to abduct the Belgian Minister. The fourth suspect, a 21-year-old Dutchman, was arrested in The Hague the following afternoon.
The Belgian police followed the suspects from Van Quickenborne’s house in Kortrijk to the Dutch border. They had left a car at the Minister’s house. According to Belgian media, the police found an automatic rifle and bottles containing petrol in the vehicle. The Minister himself announced in a video message that the Belgian authorities had foiled a kidnapping.
At the end of October, the International Legal Aid Chamber will decide whether the Netherlands will surrender the four suspects to Belgium. The suspects oppose the extradition.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times