Dutch police investigated car that contained undercover detectives
A television appeal by Dutch police for information about a mystery car seen near the location of a high-profile gangland killing in Amsterdam has led to the embarrassing revelation that the car belonged to two undercover detectives.
Details of the black Volkswagen Golf, which the team investigating the murder of former bankrobber and drug baron Stanley Hillis (64) hoped might help identify his killer, were broadcast on Opsporing Verzocht – the Dutch equivalent of CrimeCall – earlier this month.
Hillis – whose background included a stretch in the French Foreign Legion and a close association with Serb criminal Zelijko Raznjatovic, also known as paramilitary leader “Arkan”, assassinated in 2000 – was shot dead at close range in a car park in broad daylight in February 2011.
The Hillis murder team had hoped the car, which local people noticed because it contained two suspicious-looking men and remained static for a long period, might give them a late breakthrough.
The programme also included a photofit picture of the passenger in the Golf – even more embarrassing for the police because the two plainclothes detectives in the car were working on another, quite separate, investigation, believing they were unnoticed.
Police spokesman Rob van der Veen confirmed the confusion and said an operational review meant such surveillance would be centrally co-ordinated in future.
The show’s website, which featured the appeal, now says, “We are not looking for this car any longer.” This is the second extraordinary gaffe in the Hillis murder investigation – one of the biggest and most expensive in the Netherlands in recent years.
Last March, the police were forced to admit that Hillis was under surveillance from a van, with a police helicopter on standby nearby, when he was shot. They chased the killer’s van but were delayed as the surveillance van was using a radio frequency not immediately accessible to other officers.