Drugs baron slain on Dam Square
8 December 2003
AMSTERDAM — A Bulgarian drugs baron was shot and killed in broad daylight on Dam Square in Amsterdam on Saturday. Police arrested a Dutch suspect shortly afterwards while he was drinking coffee in a city cafe.
Victim Konstatin Dimitrov, 33, was shot in the head and died at the scene. His 23-year-old girlfriend, Bulgarian photo model Tsetsi Krassimirova, was also wounded, but her injuries were not life-threatening, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.
A suspect was arrested about an hour after the 3.45pm shooting in a cafe on the Ceintuurbaan in De Pijp. The man had stopped to order a cup of coffee and has been identified as a 37-year-old Dutch national, suspected of having criminal links to the drug world.
The alleged murder weapon was found by fire brigade divers in the canal along the Oudezijds Voorburgwal that same afternoon. Witnesses had followed the shooter and saw where he threw the pistol into the water.
Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen expressed horror about the slaying, which took place in between shoppers on the capital’s most famous and busiest public square. The killing was targeted and fortunately there was no wild shooting, the mayor said. He also praised police for arresting the suspect so quickly.
Police stormed into the busy De Pijp cafe shortly before 5pm and the suspect did not resist. The cafe was closed for the rest of the night due to “electricity problems” and police kept it under surveillance until late in the evening.
Dimitrov and his girlfriend had been staying at the Krasnapolsky hotel since the start of November. Bulgarian Interior State Secretary Bojko Borisov confirmed on Sunday that Dimitrov was one of the most notorious and violent criminals of the east European country.
The drugs baron recently fled Bulgaria after surviving a shoot out at a nightclub in the capital Sofia. Four people were injured in the shooting. Two days after the nightclub shooting, a meeting place of the Bulgarian mafia in Sophia was bombed and police named Dimitrov as one of the possible suspects. Dimitrov subsequently fled to Amsterdam.
An attempt was also made on Dimitrov’s life in May when a 15kg bomb was detonated as his armour-plated car drove past on a provincial road outside of Sophia. Dimitrov was uninjured.
In total, 30 Bulgarian criminals have been killed in the country in the past 15 months in a battle to gain control of the drugs industry, news agency ANP reported.
A Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman said the sister of photo model Krassimirova will travel to the Netherlands this week to offer her support.
The two victims were standing opposite their hotel in front of the display window of the Amsterdam Diamond Center when a man came at them with a pistol and opened fire. Hundreds of witnesses saw Dimitrov killed instantly and his girlfriend taken away covered in blood. She is expected to recover.
Police are surprised that the possible culprit is a Dutch national and that the man allowed himself to be tracked down so easily. Investigations are focusing on who ordered the murder and Bulgarian radio claimed that Russian heroin smugglers are behind the killing.
The Dam Square slaying is the latest in a long line of gangland liquidations in the capital. A 29-year-old Moroccan was shot and killed in the Rivierenbuurt last week and a murder occurred earlier this year in the famous shopping street PC Hoofdstraat, while Freddie Heineken kidnapper Cor van Hout was killed in Amstelveen in January.
There have been 10 gangland slayings in Amsterdam this year and police have previously expressed concern that such killings could result in the injury or death of innocent bystanders, but have admitted there is little they can to stop them occurring.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Dutch news