Dutch police are examining if CCTV cameras may have captured a botched murder attempt by a four-man British-Irish gang in one of Amsterdam’s most popular public squares.
The attack took place on Sunday evening on Rembrandt Square when it was busy with tourists and locals.
One of two Irishmen arrested, aged 29 and from Drimnagh, south Dublin, is a significant drug dealer and senior member of the Kinahan crime cartel.
The second Irishman, aged 23, is from Dublin’s south inner city and thought to be working for the dealer.
The drama unfolded when the target of the shooting escaped death after a gunman pointed a handgun at his head and fired, but the gun jammed, according to security sources.
The victim, understood to be a Dutch national of Nigerian background, fled and stopped a police car patrolling the square at 8.45pm A spokesman for Dutch police said the victim told officers he had been “threatened with a firearm” which had been “put to his face”.
The victim gave a “very good description” of the gunman and also of three other people who were with him.
He directed officers to a pub on the square, Smokey’s, to where he said the four had fled.
The spokesman said the two officers called for backup which arrived within a few minutes.
Shortly after, they entered the pub and arrested the gunman, working on the description the victim gave.
Based on the descriptions of the other gang members, police quickly identified the three accomplices.
During a search, they found three firearms.
The four arrested were taken into police custody on suspicion of threatening with a lethal weapon, a firearm, and possession of an illegal weapon. The spokesman said the four can be held for a maximum period of three days based on the permission of a senior officer and then, on the authorisation of a district attorney, for a further maximum period of three days.
The spokesman said that the suspects will then appear before a judge who will decide if the charges are serious enough to warrant a further 14 days’ detention.
He confirmed that there was CCTV on Rembrandt Square, but added that it did not cover all of it.
He said it would be part of the investigation to acquire the footage to see if it captured the shooting or provided any other evidence regarding the suspects.
He explained there were strict laws around CCTVs and police have to apply to the department of justice and the district attorney to gain access. He said that while many pubs have internal CCTV, not all did.
The detective team is also speaking to witnesses.
Meanwhile, gardaí in Dublin uncovered a drug distribution operation and seized more than 3kg of heroin in an investigation by local detectives in Crumlin/Drimnagh area.
While the area is the base of the Kinahan cartel in Dublin, gardaí have no evidence yet that the haul is connected with them. It is understood that the sole man arrested in the operation is an “unknown” to gardaí and the investigating team is trying to build up a picture of the individual and who he might be linked with.
Sources said criminal gangs are under so much pressure and surveillance at the moment, particularly in the Crumlin and south inner city, that day-to-day drug business is being affected.
Gardaí are investigating if gangs are having to use petty criminals with little or no serious history to cut up drugs. However, sources said this individual would have to be “well trusted” to be given responsibility for such a quantity of heroin.
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