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Home Dutch News Shadow of a gunman

Shadow of a gunman

Published on 02/11/2005

Three out of 29 is a fairly dismal record. This is the number of convictions secured by police after almost 15 years of underworld killings in Amsterdam. And there is no clear explanation for the spate of killings. One suggestion is that there is an ongoing feud between Yugoslavian and Dutch criminals. Another is that when friends fall out in the underworld, death is usually the result.

The preferred method of conflict resolution in gangland

As the Dutch public calls for unity and rejects violence on the first anniversary of the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, it is business as usual in the capital’s underworld. And murder is a legitimate business practice for these people. 

Here is a list of gangland killings in the last 15 years:


June: Drugs baron Klaas Bruinsma is shot and killed outside the Hilton Hotel. He was seen as the first Dutch criminal kingpin of the modern age.


A Yugoslav man dies in a café in the Jordaan area after being shot in the head. The killing is allegedly linked to Bruinsma’s death.


January: Former TV pirate station operator Pietje Hendriks is shot dead in a café on the Spaarndammerdijk. He was also linked to the ecstasy trade.

May: An unknown assailant shoots the 34-year-old Belgian doctor Danny Leclère dead in his car on the Amsterdam ring road. Leclère played a leading role in the first large ecstasy case in the Netherlands. He was sentenced to six years jail, but escaped during leave from prison. His killer has never been found.


June: German drugs dealer G. Hoffman is killed at a petrol station in Amsterdam North.


March: In a café on the Haarlemmerstraat, Belgian drug dealer and police informer Martin Swennen is killed in a volley of pistol bullets. The culprit is arrested.


October: A shooting at Central Station kills one and severely injures another. Both victims were from Singapore and the car they were in at the time of the shooting is riddled with bullet holes.


February: Two Turkish men are shot and killed in the Populierenstraat.


January: Two men aged 23 and 28 are killed in a shooting on the C.P.M. Rommeplantsoen. A third man, aged 28, is severely wounded.

July: A 27-year-old woman of Osdorp is killed when her car explodes. The death is described as a gangland slaying, but the woman was not the intended victim. She was the partner of a known Yugoslavian criminal.

December: Former drug dealer Steve Brown is shot in front of his home, but survives. He had felt threatened for some time after giving testimony against Bruinsma’s suspected killer in 1991.


September: Top criminal Jan Femer, 56, is killed on the Haarlemmerdijk. The single shooter shot him at close range from a motorbike.

October: Top criminal Sam Klepper, 40, is killed in a public shooting among shoppers on the Gelderlandplein. Police draw a possible link between the murders of Klepper and Femer.

November: A man shoots three people dead in a Japanese restaurant. The victims are two Yugoslavians and a woman. The culprit stepped inside the restaurant, walked