Explosion at Surinamese money exchange office in Rotterdam, suspect on the run
An explosion occurred in a Surinam currency exchange office on Rotterdam's West Kruiskade at around 5 a.m. on Sunday. Earlier this week, explosive devices also exploded in three branches of this suri-change company in Amsterdam. According to the police, no one was injured. The police reported that a suspect dressed in dark clothing and wearing a hoodie ran away in the direction of Batavierenstraat in the city center.
In response to the explosions in Amsterdam, the police increased surveillance at the location on West-Kruiskade, which is also the head office of Suri-Change. The police also installed a mobile camera.
According to a police spokesperson, the suspected perpetrator was captured on surveillance footage. "There are cameras everywhere in the city and they are read out around the clock. Colleagues rewound the footage from this building and saw him running away after the explosion."
However, the damage to the building is not too extensive, the police spokesperson claimed. "The door is blackened and a little warped. Other than that, there is no damage." The police have launched an investigation into the incident and are calling on witnesses to come forward.
In the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, explosives went off at the same time at three Suri-Change branches in Amsterdam. In addition, there was another explosion at one of those buildings in the night from Thursday to Friday. In repsonse to the explosions, Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema, agreed on precautionary measures and closed three offices of Suri-Change on Friday. According to Omroep Rijnmond, it is the fifth time this week that a branch of the chain has been hit by an explosion.
Suri-Change recently made headlines when five people were arrested in Rotterdam, Barendrecht and Rhoon on March 27 on suspicion of being involved in large-scale underground banking operations and laundering of criminal funds, presumably from cocaine trafficking. The investigation focused on criminal money flows allegedly channeled through this enterprise.
On Friday night Rotterdam was again affected by explosions. At that time, an explosive device went off in a porch apartment in Taandersstraat in the Delfshaven district. However, no one was injured, and the damage was minor.
In general, Rotterdam has been hit by a wave of explosions and shootings in recent months. In the first four months of 2023, there were 54 incidents of excessive violence. 37 incidents involved explosions and 17 involved gunfire. Of the 37 explosions, 36 were directed at an object, including 29 at a residential building. The police suspect that many of the incidents are related to drug-related crimes.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times