Dutch underworld reporter fighting for his life after being shot following TV appearance

Peter R de Vries

(AP)
10:21am, Wed 07 Jul 2021
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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 after making one of his regular appearances on a current affairs television show.

Mayor Femke Halsema said: “Peter R de Vries is for all of us a national hero, an unusually courageous journalist, tirelessly seeking justice.

“Today, justice in our country appears a long way off. A brutal, cowardly crime has been committed.”

Police chief Frank Paauw said two suspects had been detained, “including a possible shooter”, after a suspected getaway car was stopped on a major road around 30 miles south of the city.

A third suspect was detained in Amsterdam, he said.

There was no immediate word on a motive.

Peter R de Vries (AP)

Mr de Vries had long been considered a possible target of the criminals he reported on.

Police and prosecutors declined to comment on whether the 64-year-old reporter had received police protection.

The Netherlands’ caretaker prime minister Mark Rutte called the shooting “shocking and incomprehensible”.

He said: “An attack on a courageous journalist and also an attack on the free journalism that is so essential for our democracy, our constitutional state, our society.”

Mr 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.

King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima tweeted a message of support, and said that “journalists must be free to carry out their important work without threats”.

Mr 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.

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