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Who is Peter R de Vries? 'Fearless' crime journalist shot in Amsterdam

The shooting is understood to be linked to de Vries’ work on exposing mobsters and drug lords.

Peter R de Vries (file photo)
Peter R de Vries (file photo)
Image: AP/PA Images

ONE OF THE Netherlands’ best-known crime reporters is fighting for his life in hospital after being shot in Amsterdam.

Peter R de Vries, who has been widely lauded for his fearless reporting on the Dutch underworld, was shot in the capital last night after making one of his regular appearances on a current affairs television show.

It was an unusually brutal attack on a journalist in the Netherlands.

The shooting has been condemned by political leaders and journalists across Europe.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council, described the incident as “a crime against journalism and an attack on our values of democracy and rule of law”.

Three men were arrested, but police say one is no longer a suspect. The motive for the shooting has yet to be confirmed but is understood to be linked to de Vries’ work on exposing mobsters and drug lords.

The 64-year-old journalist and TV presenter is “fighting for his life”, Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema told a news conference.

Eyewitnesses told local media that de Vries was shot up to five times, including once in the head.

Who is Peter R de Vries?

In the past de Vries had been given police protection after receiving threats related to his involvement in high-profile criminal cases as a reporter and in court.

De Vries had recently been acting as an adviser and confidant to a witness in a major trial of the alleged leader of a crime gang police described as an “oiled killing machine”.

The suspected gangland leader, Ridouan Taghi, was extradited to the Netherlands from Dubai in 2019. He is currently in jail while he stands trial along with 16 other suspects.

De Vries won an International Emmy in 2008 for a television show he made about the disappearance of US teenager Natalee Holloway while she was on holiday in the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba in 2005.

Another high-profile case he worked on was the 1983 abduction of beer magnate Freddy Heineken. His book on the case was made into a film starring Anthony Hopkins in 2015, Kidnapping Mr Heineken.

In 2016, De Vries filed a death threat complaint against one of the men involved in the kidnapping, notorious gangster Willem Holleeder.

He won an international Emmy for cracking the mystery of what happened to a US teen who disappeared from the Caribbean island of Aruba in 2005.

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State broadcaster NOS reported that more recently, he had been acting as an advisor to Nabil B, a state witness testifying in a case against an alleged drug kingpin which opened in March.

Security around the case is extra-tight as in 2019, Nabil B’s lawyer Derk Wiersum was gunned down in the street outside his house.

© AFP 2021 with reporting from PA 

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