Fortuyn chauffeur survives gun drama
15 March 2004
AMSTERDAM — Hans Smolders, former chauffeur to assassinated Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, has survived an apparent bid on his life.
Police say a man called at Smolders’ home in the southern city of Tilburg at 9am on Thursday. As Smolders opened the door the caller mumbled about politics and produced a handgun from under a newspaper he was carrying.
Smolders managed to slam the door shut before the gun was fired. The suspect, described as a bearded white man about 1 metre 80 in height, escaped on foot.
Police say they are taking the incident “very seriously” and are conducting a meticulous search of the neighbourhood, police spokesman Karel Bouman told news agency Novum.
Smolders was quoted by news agency ANP as saying that he was “very affected” by Thursday incident.
“This man said I had to leave politics. Now let’s be clear that I am considering this. I believe the health of my wife and children is far more important than politics,” Smolders said.
Smolders established a political party – Lijst Smolders – in 2003 and planned to run in the municipal election in Tilburg in 2006, following similar policies to Fortuyn. The former Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF) MP has made it known he would like to become mayor of Tilburg.
Smolders came to national prominence when he chased after Volkert van Der Graaf seconds after the animal rights activist gunned down Fortuyn in the Hilversum Media Park on 6 May 2002.
Despite being threatened by Van der Graaf with a gun, Smolders used his mobile phone to alert the police. Officers caught Van der Graaf a short distance from the crime scene.
Van der Graaf was later jailed for 18 years for killing Fortuyn.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news