The tragic story of journalist Peter R. de Vries

The most famous Dutch crime journalist Peter R. de Vries known for investigating and reporting about the criminal underworld for many years was shot and seriously wounded on a street in the center of Amsterdam near of Leitseplein square. Five shots were fired at close range and then the journalist was shot in the head accoding to withesses.

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The journalist was shot just a few minutes after leaving a TV studio at Lange Leidsedwarsstraat, where he had appeared as a guest on a TV show. He was often a guest at RTL Boulevard TV show. RTL Boulevard is a daily television programme on the Dutch broadcasting station RTL 4. The attack happened at around 19:30 on Tuesday, 6 July near of a parking garage of the TV studio, while the journalist was walking to his car after his appearannce on the show.

De Vries was invited at RTL Boulevard TV show on Tuesday evening to talk about the case of Seif Ahmed. The 34-year-old hairdresser who was allegedly shot dead by someone from the passenger seat of his own car. The man’s 14-month-old daughter was sitting in the back seat and saw everything. 

According to DutchNews.nl Pieter R. De Vries was shot in the head. He was taken to a hospital called VU Medical Center. There was no security walking with the journalist at the time of attack. Disturbing images were circulating over social media showing the journalist lying motionless on the street, with a lot of blood around his body. On Youtube, hundreds of videos with images of the aftermath of the attack were removed. 

Bystanders who were taking care of him said that he was still alive after the attack. According to police commissioner Frank Paauw, the journalist was shot at close range by a gunman (hitman). The police and ambulance were quickly on the scene. The street was closed off, and De Vries was taken to hospital.

At the press conference of Amsterdam’s Mayor Halsema, the police and the Public Prosecution Service, announced that two suspects were arrested just a few hours after the attack. Witnesses at the scene gave the police a quick view of a possible getaway car. This car was stopped on the A4 highway near Leidschendam. Arrested suspects are a 35-year-old Polish national living in Maurik and a 21-year-old man living in Rotterdam. An 18-year-old was also arrested in Amsterdam, but he was released later on since police said he was no longer a suspect.

The crime journalist Peter R. de Vries was famous for his work on exposing different kinds of criminals, and helping police solve a number of high-profile cases due his extendent investigations and reports. Peter R. de Vries was previously given police protection after receiving life threats for his involvement in criminal cases as an investigative journalist.

Unfortunately on 15th of July 2021 Peter R. de Vries lost the battle after fighting for his life for more than a week in the hospital in Amsterdam. Now after all what happened most of the citizens of Amsterdam are expressing their anger and fear, because of the brutal attack on the journalist in the center of the city. Most of the citizens don’t feel safe on the streets of Amsterdam anymore.

Until the last moments, Dutch people were expressing their support to Peter R. de Vries all over social media and on the site of the attack. Unfortunately he didn’t make it. This attack was also a hit on journalism, the freedom of the press and freedom of speach in general in my opinion.

Just three months ago one of the most famous Greek crime journalists, Giorgos Karaivaz, was also shot dead by a hitman at the parking in front of his house. Two men on a motorcycle approached him as soon as the journalist got out of his car after work, outside his house in the southern Athens district of Alimos. More than a dozen bullet casings were collected from the scene where the Greek crime reporter Giorgos Karaivaz was gunned down with a silenced weapon, killing him instantly. 11 bullets out of the 12 fired crosssed his body.

52-year-old Giorgos Karaivaz was an experienced police reporter and had worked for various renowned newspapers and broadcast media over the decades. For some years he also ran the news blog bloko.gr. He was one of the few investigative journalists in his profession and was considered a friendly, confident colleague and a relaxed person.

Colleagues on the private TV channel STAR stated that Karaivaz had not felt threatened. According to the authorities, he hadn’t applied for a gun license or police protection at any time. Unfortunately Giorgos Karaivaz case is still not solved.

That was not the case with the Dutch crime reporter Pieter R. de Vries. In 2019 he tweeted several times that police had told him that he was on the hit list of the Netherlands’ most wanted criminal Ridouan Taghi. De Vries also said many times in his interviews that Taghi had ordered his asassination and that the police warned him about this. The reason would be that De Vries was very critical of Taghi. Even though in May of the same year he received a letter from Taghi who denied all of this. Peter R. de Vries had also been acting as an advisor to a former gang member, Nabil B, who was testifying in the case against Ridouan Taghi. Ridouan T. is currently on trial in the Netherlands for murder and drug trafficking.

Riduan Taghi is seen as the principal of a series of assasination and murder plans and was regarded as the most wanted criminal in the Netherlands. He is suspected of involvement in the attack on De Telegraaf last year, after publications about him. He also had threatened crime reporter John van den Heuvel. Reporter Van den Heuvel is still monitored day and night by the Royal and Diplomatic Security Service (DKDB Dienst Koninklijke en Diplomatieke Beveiliging). Van den Heuvel was publishing extensively about the fugitive criminal. So much so that Taghi apparently thought it was enough. Ridouan Taghi (41) from Vianen (province of Utrecht) was arrested in Dubai in December 2019 and transferred to the Netherlands, where he has been in the highest-security prison in Vught ever since according to Wikipedia

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Peter R. De Vries, became famous in the Netherlands in the early 1980s writing about Amsterdam’s underworld and the kidnapping of Freddy Heineken. De Vries was kind of obsessed with Willem Holleeder in my opinion, even though he made milions thanks to his name. Peter R. de Vries also collaborated on a film adaptation of the Freddy Heineken kidnapping. He also wrote a book called ”The kidnapping of Alfred Heineken”. Willem Holleder asked him many times not to use his name, but he did it anyway. Peter R. de Vries has sold almost 300,000 copies since it was published in 1987. According to dutchnews.nl the book was based on the story of one of the kidnappers, Cor van Hout, who signed a contract with the journalist, giving him 75% of the royalties and proceeds from interviews and any film or TV rights. Van Hout was shot dead in 2003. De Vries said Van Hout’s royalties were then transferred to his wife, Sonja Holleeder, sister of another Heineken kidnapper, Willem Holleeder, against whome she testified later on. You can read more about it in one of my previous articles regarding Willem Holleeder case.

Deceased journalist Peter R. de Vries also had won an Emmy Award for a television show he made about Natalee Holloway, a US teenager who disappeared on the Caribbean island of Aruba in 2005. Joran Van der Slot was linked to the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba. The young woman was never found. Van der Sloot was eventually let go because of a lack of evidence. Peter de Vries led the suspect Joran van der Sloot into a trap with a hidden camera in a broadcast in 2006. During the car rides with Patrick van der Eem, who was in the conspiracy with the journalist, Joran Van der Sloot told in detail how he made the American tourist Natalee Holloway disappear in Aruba and how she died in his hands. Later on, Joran van der Sloot denied everything, saying that he was under the influence of cannabis and that he was telling lies just to impress his friend. Joran van der Sloot (33) is currently detained in Peru for the murder of another young lady. There he is serving 28 years for the murder of student Stephany Flores. Joran is also suspected to be the coordinator of the drug smuggling to the prison where he is serving his sentence. On the photo below is journalist Peter R. de Vries interviewing Natalee’s H. mother.

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In general, a lot of criminals had a reason to hate Peter R. de Vries since he helped put many of them behind bars, but he was not afraid of anyone.

In 2019 De Vries‘ intervention led to a breakthrough of Nicky Verstappen’s murder, 20 years after he was taken from the tent where he was sleeping in and killed. That breakthrough led to the arrest of Jos Brech. In 2020, Brech was sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison after being found guilty of sexually abusing 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen and abducting him in acts that led to his death.

According to some reports on social media, Peter R. de Vries had refused to have personal security. He felt safe in his city. In one of the many interviews he said that he had to continue to live his life and to do his work despite of the threats. He didn’t want his life to be controlled by security guards. The government often insisted on his protection, but he stuck to his decision. 

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According to some Dutch publications, after a guard made a scratch on his car, he no longer wanted security guards to drive him to and from the parking garage between Prinsengracht and Lange Leidsedwarsstraat, so that he could get in and out right in front of the studio. Witnesses saw him walking alone between the parking garage and the studio very often.

Dutch police is still appealing for witnesses and the CCTV footage. They are also asking anyone who have any material related to the attack not to share it on social media but to get in touch with the police.

RTL Nieuws

De Vries was also an advisor and confidant of crown witness Nabil B. in the Marengo trial, which revolves around assasinations carried out by the organization surrounding Ridouan Taghi according to Dutch publications.

The newest information according to De Telefraaf, is that the suspected gunman who is arrested for shooting crime journalist Peter R. de Vries would have received 150,000 Euro for the assassination. That is what his family members said to De Telegraaf . According to his anonymous relatives, Delano G. would have been controlled by the ‘murder gang’ associated with Ridouan T.

It is not possible to verify yet whether the claims of the family members are correct. In the interest of the investigation, the Dutch police have not released much official information about the case.

Delano G. is a cousin of Jaoud W., a childhood friend of Ridouan Taghi, who is seen as a leader of the criminal organization, who was arrested in 2015 in the investigation into the discovery of a huge arsenal in Nieuwegein and the preparation of assassinations, according to nos.nl. Jaoud W. was sentenced on appeal to 13 years in prison and is still incarcerated. Jaoud W. is an important suspect in the criminal case 26Koper, a group that is again associated with Ridouan Taghi. According to the Delano G.’s relatives interview for De Telegraaf, they suspect that the murder order came from that group.

Suspects according to NOS

The suspected gunman Delano G. had been in contact with the police several times, mostly for violent street robberies. He was also convicted of extortion, five domestic burglaries, one attempted assault and public assault. As a minor and a sixteen-year-old, he was under the supervision of the juvenile probation service. He have been sentenced to fifteen months of juvenile detention, five of which were conditional.

Delano G. grew up in Tiel, Gelderland. At a young age he moved from Curaçao to the Netherlands. A few years ago he seemed to aspire a career in the music industry. In 2018 he registered his own music label with the Chamber of Commerce and published a rap song. As a child he participated in So You Think You Can Dance show 2013, reports the Gelderse newspaper. I watched the footage on Youtube and he seemed to be a very talented kid. It is so pitty he ended up with a bad company doing bad things.

NOS

Another suspect Kamil E. lives in Maurik, Gelderland, and is originally from Poland. In his home country he was known as a frequent offender, according to Polish media reports. He was arrested last week for threats, possibly with a firearm. However, no weapon was found and after a night in jail he was released, that was just four days before the attack on De Vries. According to Omroep Gelderland, he had to leave his home, but he refused to leave. He allegedly threatened the tenant of the house. His criminal past was not known to everyone in his neighborhood. A neighbor described Kamail E. as: “A kind man”. ”He lived there with a wife, two children 8 and 12 and his wife was 4 month pregnant with a baby on the way.” The man was active as a carpenter, painter and glazier, according to data from the Chamber of Commerce. He had registered with his handyman company on 4 June.

The two arrested suspects are still in custody.

Ridouan Taghi’s lawyer Mrs. Inez Weski stated at the Dutch media that the connection between the assassination of De Vries and the Ridouan Taghi was made “without any objective substantiation”. Officially nothing is known yet about the possible motive for the deadly, brutal attack on crime journalist Peter R. de Vries.

R.I.P. Peter R. de Vries.

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