Man, three women arrested in nude photo blackmail scam

One man and three women have been arrested for blackmailing at least 10 young women by threatening to place nude photographs of them online, Zeeland police said on Friday. The victims, aged between 18 and 25, come from all over the country and there may be more, the broadcaster said. The investigation began after a young woman from Vlissingen went to the police, saying she was being blackmailed into handing over cash to stop nude photos being placed on the internet. That led police to identify a 23-year-old man in The Hague. He may also face rape charges after attacking one of his victims when she brought him the money. His telephone and laptop led to three other women aged 18 to 26 who may be involved in the blackmailing. Their role in the case is still being investigated. Police spokesman Aris van Herwijnen said the suspect had made contact with the victims via a fake profile on a dating site. Once he had a nude photo he would make contact with the woman via another social media channel, using another fake profile, and start the blackmail process.  More >

Arrests as police bust cockfighting centre

Dutch police on Tuesday raided what they said was a centre for training fighting cocks, seizing 51 birds and arresting two people, following a tip-off. The building in a rural part of Bodegraven, between Leiden and Utrecht, included a closed wheel which was used to train the hens and pens where the birds lived. Local broadcaster Omroep West also showed a photograph of a bucket containing dead birds. Cock fighting is illegal in the Netherlands but the hens may have been destined for France, where cock fighting is legal in a few places, the broadcaster quoted the police as saying. Op een perceel aan de #BurgemeesterKremerweg in #Bodegraven zijn meerdere hanen aangetroffen. Een 31 jarige man uit #Zwammerdam en een 38 jarige man uit Bodegraven zijn aangehouden op verdenking van het houden van verboden #hanengevechten meer info volgt — Politie Den Haag (@POL_DenHaag) December 11, 2018 The two men arrested are aged 31 and 38 and come from Zwammerdam and Bodegraven.  More >

Postdoc conned by fake ministry official

An international researcher at Groningen University has been conned out of nearly €3,000 by someone posing as an employee of foreign affairs ministry, the Northern Times reported on Friday. Manas Das, a postdoc from India working at the faculty of science and engineering, was threatened with deportation by someone claiming that his paperwork was not in order. 'I took out all my money because I thought it was a threat to my family. I’m living here with a small kid and my wife,' he told the website. He was told to hand over the money in the form of gift cards for Steam, an online gaming platform. Das told the website he has an appointment with the Groningen police on Monday to file a formal complaint. He said he had decided to go public about the con in an effort to stop other people falling into the same trap. Similar scams involving phone numbers mirroring legitimate Dutch government agencies have been reported by foreign professionals across the Netherlands over the past year. Have you received one of these calls? Please get in touch via in strictest confidence.   More >

Syrian knifeman is not a terrorist

A 28-year-old Syrian national who threatened police with a knife in the town of Naaldwijk near The Hague in August is now longer being treated as a terrorist suspect, the public prosecution department told judges on Wednesday. The man, who appeared in court for a procedural hearing, appears to be suffering from psychiatric problems, the public prosecutor said.  He was arrested after threatening shoppers near an Albert Heijn supermarket with a knife, but it took warning shots and a police dog to get him under control, the court was told. And although he was reported to have shouted 'Allahu akbar' this is not enough to consider him a terrorist, the prosecution department said. The man lives in Sweden and was visiting relatives. His brothers say he had been suffering from mental problems for a longer period and earlier that day had threatened to jump off a balcony. He was remanded in custody pending a full hearing on January 31, when a full psychiatric report will be made available. Problems This June the government's socio-cultural think-tank SCP said that four in 10 of the Syrian nationals granted refugee status in the Netherlands have psychiatric problems. Their problems largely derive from their experiences while escaping from Syria – some 80% reached the Netherlands by land or by sea and took an average of one year to get here, the SCP report said. There have been several incidents in the Netherlands involving Syrian refugees this year.  On May 5, one man who was known to have serious psychiatric problems stabbed three people near the Hollands Spoor railway station in The Hague. And later that month, another man was arrested after waving an axe around in Schiedam in Rotterdam.  More >