Gun smuggler Pistols Paul dies, aged 80
7 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — Infamous Dutch gun smuggler Paul Wilking, better known as Pistols Paul, died in his Amsterdam home on Monday morning at the age of 80, a family spokesman said.
7 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — Infamous Dutch gun smuggler Paul Wilking, better known as Pistols Paul, died in his Amsterdam home on Monday morning at the age of 80, a family spokesman said.
Born and bred in the Dutch capital, Wilking was a renowned figure in the Amsterdam underworld and was particularly active in the illegal weapons trade in the 1960s, news agency ANP reported.
Heavily into guns as a schoolboy, Wilking's interest became a career in World War II as he stole weapons from the Germans and handed them onto the Resistance. He was later honoured by the Dutch and British royal families.
As the years went on, Wilking also started exporting guns. "I am opposed to oppression and therefore supplied guns to countries which fought for their liberty: Congo, Algeria, Guatemala and Cuba," website www.pistolenpaultje.nl said.
Described as a "good scoundrel", Pistols Paul allegedly had links with the Dutch security service AIVD (known previously as the BVD). He is also said to have been a spy for foreign powers, traded in bugging equipment and possessed a diplomatic passport.
He was involved in animal rights and established an anti-animal cruelty association in 1968. The small group of some 30 people was involved in vigilante attacks against people accused of having committed acts of animal cruelty.
Wilking was named last year as the Animal Protector of the Year by the animal rights group Dierenbescherming.
Prior to that, he made headlines in 2002 when crime reporter Peter R. de Vries revealed that Wilking and an art gallery owner in The Hague were involved in the trade of forged paintings by Herman Brood, who had committed suicide in July 2001.
Pistols Paul was born on 19 April 1924. His father was an engineer and his mother ran a restaurant on the Leidseplein in Amsterdam. He consciously chose a colourful life, asserting that a boring life would be the worst thing possible.
Nevertheless, he lived a secluded life in the past few years with his wife Rietje and his two cats in their home on the Van Breestraat in Amsterdam. A date for the funeral has yet to be announced.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news