Bart Dewaele

“Serious threat” to Belgian Justice Minister, three people detained by Dutch police

Three people have been detained in The Netherlands after a serious threat was identified to the safety of the Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne (Flemish liberal). VRT News’ source say that the threat to Mr Van Quickenborne came the drugs underworld. Criminal reported had plans to kidnap the Federal Justice Minister. The news that three people have been detained and Mr Van Quickenborne has been given increased protection comes from the Federal Judicvial Authorities. Several of Mr Van Quickenborne’s engagement that had been planned for the coming days have been cancelled. 

During the course of last week the Federal Judicial Authorities became aware of a potential threat against the Federal Justice Minister. In a press statement released on Saturday morning, the Federal Judicial Authorities say that “Initial elements in the investigation soon showed that the threats needed to be taken seriously”.

The Dutch public service broadcaster NOS reports that the arrests took place in The Hague. 

The Federal Judicial Authorities have not disclosed which (if any) organization made the threats or what motivation those behind the threats to target Mr Van Quickenborne. However, VRT News’ source say that the threat to Mr Van Quickenborne came the drugs underworld. Criminal reportedly had plans to kidnap the Federal Justice Minister. 

VRT News’ Justice Editor Caroline Van den Berghe has heard that earlier this week a Dutch-registered car that was carrying Kalashnikov machine guns, other fire arms and containers of patrol was intercepted near to the Justice Minister’s home. 

No details have been given about the three people detained in The Netherlands. The Federal Judicial Authorities have asked their Dutch colleagues to hand them over to Belgium.

The investigation is currently ongoing. The Federal Justice Minister has been given extra security and several of his engagements planned for the coming days have been cancelled. 

UAE

Since becoming Justice Minister Mr Van Quickenborne has stepped up the fight against drug gangs. At the end of December last year he traveled to the United Arab Emirates with the Federal Prosecutor Frédéric Van Leeuw to sign two treaties. 

The treaties make it easier to locate and detain drug barons, many of whom seek sanctuary from justice in the UAE, and to seize their assets. This visit may well have served to get the drug barons worried.

 

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