DeepL Translator said:NOS News - Interior - Today, 13:31 - Modified Today, 17:31
Torture containers with scalpels and saws 'were for show'
The containers with torture equipment in Wouwse Plantage in which abducted people could be locked up and tortured, were never meant to be used. The case has to do with embezzlement, said prime suspect Van O., who did not explain it any further. "Conclusions were drawn too quickly," he stated before the Court in Amsterdam.
Another suspect also stated, in a written statement to the Court, that the containers were for the show. They pretended to be involved in everything, to mislead the initiator, but would never have intended to really do anything with the torture chamber.
According to the Public Prosecutor's Office, the initiator for the construction of the torture complex is the 48-year-old drug trafficker Roger P. alias Piet Costa, according to various media reports [in Dutch].
The Public Prosecutor's Office finds the statement of the suspects unbelievable and thinks that there was indeed a real torture chamber. "Everything was accounted for," said the prosecutor in the courtroom.
The two suspects, along with four others, are alleged to have made preparations for kidnapping, extortion and aggravated assault. Today was a first preparatory session in the proceedings.
Lawyers of two other suspects emphasized that their clients only did some chores such as sheeting foil and cleaning up construction waste. They did not know exactly what they were involved in.
This summer [in Dutch] the sea containers were found in Wouwse Plantage, in Noord-Brabant. The containers were soundproofed and one of them was fitted with scissors, handcuffs on the ceiling, and a chair that was screwed to the floor. Images of them went all over the world.
The police became aware of the case when officers managed to crack encrypted messages between criminals. In these EncroChat messages the containers were discussed and pictures of the torture chambers were shared.
For example, Robin van O., who sent messages under the name Slempo, wrote: "It has now been insulated three times". To which others responded with "Top". He also writes that they have to get arms ready. "Hand weapons and some automatic weapons perhaps. And with mufflers, handy if they don't cooperate." One of the suspects was called 'the Jailer' in those messages. He had the keys to the containers and was there for thirty days working on refitting the container.
Claw hammers and a pair of pruning shears
The public prosecutor listed what was found in the containers: finger clamps, scalpels, claw hammers, various pliers, a brush cutter and a branch saw, a gas burner and pruning shears. "Ice cold and shocking", she calls the finds. In the weeks that the police could follow the chats, there was also talk about possible victims. "If we thought it was necessary we warned those people," says the prosecutor. "That's how kidnappings were prevented."
The police also placed cameras outside and in the shed. They saw four of the suspects working hard to turn the growing areas of a cannabis plantation into torture chambers. The suspects also set up a large freezer and worked on cars. For example, a back seat was removed from a van.
The lawyers commented today on how the police brought the discovery of the containers to the media: "In a video with exciting music which would not look out of place on Netflix, the police raided the containers. While the police knew very well that no one was inside. The police has had cameras hanging outside the shed for weeks. So they knew exactly what they would find," said lawyer Schuurman.
In addition to the shed in Brabant, another shed was also found in Rotterdam. The messages referred to an 'AT-headquarters', pointing to the arrest team of the police. "From there you can deploy directly", someone wrote to 'Slempo'. According to the Public Prosecutor's Office, the suspects, dressed up as cops, wanted to kidnap people and take them to the torture chambers.
Police uniforms, weapons and fast cars were found in that shed. The prosecutor called it a shocking method. "The police must always be trustworthy."
All six suspects remain on remand, the court decided.
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Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 15:20
Torture chamber suspects were planning at least 7 murders: Prosecutor
The suspects around torture containers found in Noord-Brabant last year had plans and intentions to assassinate at least seven people, the Public Prosecutor said in court on Wednesday. In a criminal conflict involving millions of eruos, prime suspect 49-year-old Roger P., alias Piet Costa, wanted to murder his rivals and their families, including children, the Prosecutor said in the introductory session at the high security court in Amsterdam, ANP reports.
The police became aware of P. and the gang allegedly around him last summer, after authorities managed to break into the databases of encrypted chat service Encrochat and gained access to millions of messages sent between criminals. Investigation led the police to a warehouse full of shipping containers modified to imprison and torture people.
The containers contained a variety of torture implements including items for waterboarding, two dentist chairs equipped with straps to tie people up, and a mobile operating table. These items were bought on Marktplaats, among other places, the Prosecutor revealed on Wednesday. In a warehouse in Rotterdam, the gang stored stolen cars that could be used to kidnap their victims, the Prosecutor said.
According to the Prosecutor, P. is the spider in the web. Various messages between him and direct accomplices showed their plans for murder. "They must die, right down to their dog," P. said in one message, the Prosecutor said.
Interrogation of the total 10 suspects in this case so far "yielded very little", the Prosecutor said. They either remain silent or lie.
Roger P. is also the prime suspect in a large drug case around the smuggling of about 4,800 kilograms of cocaine through the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam in 2015 and 2016.
Sunday, May 23, 2021 - 13:35
Grenade found in Breda possibly linked to torture chamber
A hand grenade was discovered on the grounds of a company on the Baliendijk in Breda on Saturday night. The area was closed off and the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) was called to defuse the device. Authorities suspect the incident is linked to Piet Costa who is suspected of drug trafficking and the construction of a torture chamber on the Wouwse Plantage, the Telegraaf reported.
“The explosive was stuck to a shutter”, an eyewitness said to Omroep Brabant.
The owner of the company where the explosive was found allegedly wanted to take over management from Costa whose real name is Roger P. ‘Costa’ is accused of among other things, smuggling 4800 kilos of cocaine and the construction of a torture chamber where his opponents were to be murdered.
The owner of the company in Breda experienced multiple assassination attempts recently.
A few days earlier, the owner of the company was shot at near his home on the Bruno Renardstraat. He was able to escape uninjured. In January, an explosive and some shells were found near a second location of the man’s company at the Kleine Krogt.
On October 18, the man was shot at as well in front of his home by a man in a balaclava. He was unable to flee unharmed. Two days later a hand grenade and several cartridges were found at the Baliendijk in Breda.
Police are still investigating if there is a link between the current discovery and previous incidents.
Sunday, May 23, 2021 - 11:20
Heavy weapons found in same complex were suspect in Ayla Mintjes case was arrested
27-year old Ayla Mintjes who died after the shooting in Amsterdam
Police in Amsterdam discovered heavy weapons and explosives in a storage room of an apartment complex on Wednesday night, NOS reported. The weapons were found in the same complex where a suspect in the killing of 27-year-old Ayla Mintjes was arrested earlier on Wednesday.
Mintjes was likely killed by mistake on May 16, authorities claimed. She was sitting in her car when she was shot by an unidentified person. Ayla managed to drive herself to the hospital but ended up dying of her injuries.
Residents of the apartment complex with eight houses were temporarily transferred to safe accommodation.
Mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, ordered the apartment where the stash was discovered closed off for the following three months. Authorities discovered various types of explosives, automatic assault rifles, small firearms and ammunition in the storage room.
Residents have since been able to return to their homes but many feel unsafe. Some said they have plans to move elsewhere.
On March 28, a communal porch was damaged by explosives. Two days later, an explosive device attached to the balcony detonated. Police have said they suspect the attacks are related to tensions in crime circles.
Torture container suspect Robin van O. remains in custody for extended period of time
2 hours ago
Gym owner and torture suspect Robin van O. remains in jail for the time being. The Amsterdam court sees sufficient compelling reasons to keep him in pre-trial detention for an extended period of time.
Main suspects Van O. and Roger P. ('Piet Costa') were, according to the public prosecutor, busy with their co-suspects setting up a shed with sea containers in Wouwse Plantage (North Brabant), in which criminal enemies could be locked up and tortured. In addition to a variety of torture equipment, two dental chairs were found on which people could be tied up for torture.
The 41-year-old Van O. had asked the court on Thursday to release him, because he said he had nothing to do with the case and he was innocently "put on this chessboard." But the court on Friday called the suspicions against him still too severe. Van O. made a fervent plea during the preliminary hearing that he is not the "Slempo" from the messages intercepted by the prosecution. Towards the end of the afternoon, however, the OM came up with "fresh off the press" information that the account of this 'Slempo' was secured with the names and dates of birth of Van O.'s children.
The police warned the 41-year-old Van O. a few years ago that he was on a death list. This would have to do with information about him that surfaced in a suspected feud between the alleged top criminal Ridouan Taghi and an opponent. According to Van O., the police then left him to his own devices and he had to rely on criminal contacts to stay one step ahead of those who had it in for him.
The torture containers were dismantled in June last year during a large-scale police action after the cracking of the crypto service EncroChat, in which detectives were able to read the messages that criminals sent among themselves.
The case will continue with a preliminary hearing in early November. The court is planning to hear the case on the substance early next year.
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Cry for help inaudible
Investigation: torture containers in Brabant village were soundproofed
3 hours 57 minutes ago - Updated: 2 hours 47 minutes ago
The torture containers in a shed in the North Brabant village of Wouwse Plantage were so well insulated that a cry for help would not have been audible outside the shed. This is stated in a report by research organization TNO.
The public prosecutor quoted from that report today during the sixth and final preliminary hearing in the case surrounding the torture containers discovered in June last year.
Dental chair with straps
TNO conducted a noise study in two containers at the request of the prosecution, including the container that contained the treatment chair.
This was a dentist's chair with straps on the armrests and footrest that was apparently designed to torture people:
In a shed, police found a torture chamber in a soundproof shipping container. The room was still under construction.
TNO also conducted research on a container that had been set up as a residence room. "It turns out that the furnishing was not amateur work, the sound insulation in the containers was installed with expertise," said the prosecutor about the results of the sound investigation.
Above-average voice volume
Even someone with an above-average voice volume would not be audible outside the shed. The report was provided to the defendants' lawyers last month.
The torture sheds came to light during a large-scale police operation following the cracking of the crypto service EncroChat, in which detectives were able to read the messages of criminals among themselves.
The court wants to hear the case on substance from January 26. Before then, one of the main suspects Robin van O. will be heard about the use of the name 'Slempo' on Encrochat.
The prosecution has strong indications that Van O. is behind Slempo. The account would have been secured with a password consisting of the first names and dates of birth of the children of Van O.
The lawyers of Van O. and three co-defendants asked the court to allow their suspects to await their trial in freedom. The court will decide tomorrow whether to extend their pre-trial detention.
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Robin van O., suspected of building Brabant torture containers, is incurably ill
Former gym owner Robin van O. is suffering from an aggressive form of cancer. He will probably not see the end of his trial.
Thomas Borst - November 23, 2021 at 5:16 pm
Robin van O., the man who the justice department believes is behind the Brabant torture containers of the underworld, is incurably ill. Van O. was transferred to a prison hospital in Scheveningen. His lawyers confirmed this to NRC on Tuesday following reports by Het Parool (in Dutch). The Public Prosecutor's Office is prosecuting him on suspicion of leading a criminal organization, involvement in drug trafficking and setting up the torture containers in Brabant.
The 41-year-old Van O. suffers from an incurable cancer, which has metastasized and disabled vital parts of the body. He will probably not see the end of his trial; the substantive hearing against the group that Van O. is alleged to lead is scheduled for January. Last week, the former gym owner from Utrecht was transferred from the penitentiary in Leeuwarden to a prison hospital in Scheveningen.
Justice regards Van O. as the head of the criminal organization. Under his leadership, the group would have built and equipped the seven torture containers that were found by police last summer in Brabant. One of them contained a dental chair on which a victim could be secured and tortured with available tools. The other six containers were furnished as prison cells. The rooms were completely soundproofed; screams from victims could not be heard by the outside world.
Suspects from the organization are also on trial for preparing kidnapping, extortion, aggravated assault and murder. Van O., who was known in the criminal world as someone who was quickly informed of sensitive information, would also have been on Ridouan Taghi's death list (in Dutch).
With the cooperation of Jan Meeus.
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Revenge, intimidation often drive gangland killings, researchers sayJanuary 13, 2022
Gangland killings may often appear to be haphazard and carried out without any regard to others, but that is often deliberate strategy, according to government scientists at the justice ministry’s research and document centre WODC.
The research team studied (Press release with link to report; Dutch only) violent gangland killings over the past few decades, in an update to an earlier report, which was issued in 2017.
They found that organized drugs crime is usually behind gang-related murders, but now say that revenge and intimidation are the primary reason for the killings, rather than conflict between groups. In addition, murder is increasingly used to punish gang members themselves, or to warn others.
For example, the murder of a man involved in a gangland war over drugs while his seven-year-old daughter was sitting next to him in the car, was a deliberate act, the researchers say.
We now know the killers knew the girl would be in the car, researcher Barbra van Gestel told the NRC. ‘We used to think such killings were sloppy and careless, but now we know that intimation also plays a part,’ she told the paper.
The murder of girlfriends, crime reporter Martin Kok and the killing of the brother of a crown witness and his lawyer involved in a major drugs trial, can also be seen in this light, the WODC says.
The agency bases its report on interviews with more than 20 key informers working for both the police and justice ministry as well as encrypted messages between gang members.
What is also notable, said Van Gestel, is that the number of gangland killings is going down. Since 2000 the total has hovered between 20 and 30 a year but in 2019 there were 18 and in 2020 just 10.