Expatica news

Germans: Dutch police ‘hindered’ kidnap case

27 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — The German authorities have accused Dutch police of delaying the rescue of kidnap and assault victim Wei Wei Hu by withholding information about the case.

During a press conference on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the German police claimed their Dutch counterparts initially revealed too little important information.

The Germans allege that almost immediately after Wei Wei, 13, was snatched at knifepoint from the eastern Dutch town of Rekken at 2.30pm on Sunday 23 May, the Dutch police knew the identity of the 37-year-old Dutch kidnap suspect and had a photograph of him.

The kidnapping might have lasted longer because the Dutch police did not share this information immediately, the German police spokesperson said.

German police spotted the suspect’s car late on Monday night and surrounded it in Munster around midnight. The suspect released the girl and surrendered early on Tuesday morning after hours of negotiations. Wei Wei’s ordeal lasted in total 40 hours.

During the standoff, it is alleged he frequently held a knife to Wei Wei’s throat. It is also alleged she was sexually assaulted.

It has since emerged that an eyewitness was able to tell Dutch police about the car in which Wei Wei was taken. With this information, the police quickly established the suspect had rented the car in his own name and provided a photocopy of an identity document.

Opposition politicians in the Netherlands heaped criticism on the Dutch authorities when it emerged the suspect was a 37-year-old Utrecht man on temporary release from a TBS secure hospital clinic.

He had been sent to the hospital for compulsory psychiatric treatment as part of his sentence for a sex attack on a young girl in 1994. He had already served two years in jail for that offence.

He was judged to be a low-risk inmate and was granted provisional release as part of the process of reintegrating him back into society. The man failed to return to the hospital and was on the run for two weeks before Sunday’s kidnapping.

Politicians in the Dutch Parliament have called on Justice Minister Piet-Hein Donner to end the policy of temporary unsupervised release for offenders in TBS psychiatric detention.

Donner told Parliament on Wednesday that he hoped the kidnapping was an exception in the TBS system and that in principle he was not against the idea of looking up mentally-disturbed sex offenders for life.

He also said he is in favour of allowing fewer TBS detainees to take temporary leave without a guard or electronic supervision, Dutch public news service NOS reported.

But he rejected the demand from a majority of MPs that sex offenders and psychiatrically-disturbed criminals no longer be allowed to take unsupervised leave from a TBS clinic.

Instead, he said TBS treatment is designed to prepare people for a return to society and temporary leave from a clinic is thus a desirable part of the system.

Donner angered some opposition politicians when he said he did not know precisely what happened in the Wei Wei case. “I don’t have a balanced overview,” he admitted.

Meanwhile, Wei Wei has spoken publicly about her ordeal, saying that she was very happy to be safe. She also revealed she had been unconscious on several occasions during the kidnapping and could not recall everything, Novum news reported.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news