The minister was speaking via online channels using a false background in order not to give anything away.

Justice Minister: "We are in a new phase, one of narco-terrorism"

Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne has spoken for the first time since he and his family were transferred to a safehouse. Talking via online channels, the minister said that Belgium has entered a new phase since it has stepped up the fight against drugs criminals: that of narcoterrorism. He adds that he will not give up the fight, even if circumstances have become more threatening for him and his family.    

Last week, it turned out that there were plans to kidnap the minister and/or his family. The people preparing this operation are probably linked to the drugs scene. Some are afraid that Belgium will be confronted with situations like in the Netherlands, where lawyers or journalists are being killed in the street in plain daylight. 

"I think we have entered a new phase, that of narcoterrorism", Van Quickenborne said about this. "The criminal underworld is trying to destabilise society and fasten its grip on it. They are doing this by scaring members of the police and the judicial authorities, just because they feel we are chasing them." 

"The fight will continue"

However, Mr Van Quickenborne will not let himself be intimidated: "You can rest assured: this government will leave no stone unturned in the fight against drugs criminals. The federal police force is being reinforced, while efforts are being made at the judicial authorities. We adopted new laws in parliament just before summer, in order to step up the fight. We will never give up." 

He makes the comparison with Italy: "At first, they thought they would never win against the mafia. But now hundreds of mafia members have been convicted." 

The minister realises he may have to seek shelter for a while. "Me and my family are doing fine. You may be surprised, but we never felt safer. This is thanks to the professional work of the police and the security teams." 

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