On 27 January this year the police in Antwerp were informed that a man had been kidnapped and was being held hostage in Lisbon. He had been made to contact his family and ask them to pay a ransom to secure his release. A day later Portuguese police were able to free the man from a hotel.
A spokesperson for the Antwerp Judicial Authorities told journalists that "This was a well-organised hostage-taking within the context of criminal drug gangs”. Detectives already had strong indications of the involvement of several of the suspects that have been detained. Information from the Operation Sky investigation into organised drug crime served to confirm what was already known and provide new information about the case.
The Examining Magistrate issued 7 search warrants on Thursday. 7 men and 1 woman were apprehended. They have since been questioned and formally arrested. The male suspects are between the ages of 24 and 43. They are from the Antwerp districts of Deurne and Borgerhout and municipalities in Antwerp Province such as Borsbeek and Brasschaat. The criminal investigation into the hostage-taking is still on-going.