Saturday, April 29, 2006

Who is killing the Great Crooks of Europe?

No, seriously. Since we've been here, there have been a couple of well-publicised assassinations of underworld kingpins. But according to Expatica, this has been going on a long time!

In brief, it seems to go like this:

June 1991- Drugs baron Klaas Bruinsma
January 1993 -
Former TV pirate station operator Pietje Hendriks, also linked to the ecstasy trade.
May 1993 -
Escaped convict Danny Leclère who played a leading role in the first large ecstasy case in the Netherlands.
June 1995 - German drugs dealer G. Hoffman.
March 1996 -
Belgian drug dealer and police informer Martin Swennen.
December 1999 -
Former drug dealer Steve Brown shot, but not killed.
September 2000 -
Top criminal Jan Femer.
October 2000 -
Top criminal Sam Klepper.
March 2002-
Egyptian drug dealer Magdi Barsoum. His brother was murdered in 2004.
January 2003 -
Freddie Heineken's kidnapper, Cor van Hout.
December 2003 - Bulgarian drugs criminal Konstantin Dimitrov.
March 2004 -
The man who killed Klaas Bruinsma and drugs dealer Anton Hijzelendoorn, Martin Hoogland.
July 2004 -
Reputed drug dealer Mounir Barsoum.
November 2005 - Suspected money launderer
John Mieremet, two days after the prosecuting lawyer investigating him was murdered. Hours later his friend Kees Houtman was murdered, as was his associate George van Kleef some days later.
April 2006 -
Anthonie van der Bijl, arrested in March for questioning about a drug gang. He was murdered days after his release.

Some people have been arrested and convicted of various of the murders described, but many go unsolved. The main issue is that nobody understands what has sparked this wave of gangland violence.

It reminds me of a short story I once read about a man who learned he had just six months to live. He spent those six months eradicating nasty people, but more on the level of shop assistents who were rude to old ladies and bullies who traumatised younger kids.

I'm not suggesting that there is a vigilante group wiping out gangland kingpins who might otherwise escape justice. What I do think, however, is that this makes wonderful material for a novel.