That applied, for example, to Shurandy S., the 43-year-old man who shot the brother of crown witness Nabil B. in March 2018. Shurandy S. confessed to the murder, but declined to name his client. “I saw no way out, I knew who and what I was dealing with.”
As early as 2018, the then chief of police Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg expressed his concerns about the change in the perpetrator profile in murder attacks. It is about increasingly younger, poorly trained hitmen with few opportunities on the labor market and a weakly developed conscience.
What is also striking is that – expensive – hitmen are no longer recruited abroad, but come from the city itself and are prepared to ‘let someone sleep’ for a meager few thousand euros. They do this more and more often with fully automatic rifles that they can hardly handle, resulting in great danger to bystanders. Sometimes bullets fly through houses and trams and sometimes the gunmen mistake the target they should recognize from a photo.
The Scientific Research and Documentation Center WODC noted in the report Liquidations in the Netherlands that the year 2012 was a turning point. The threshold to commit a liquidation has since been lowered, more people are willing to carry out a murder order and the gunmen are more often inexperienced. There is more ‘daring and guts’ and the mentality is different: committing murder has had a status-enhancing effect. Of these hitmen, an officer interviewed says: “You can find them in the bushes.”
The shooters usually don’t even know why someone has to die. They don’t care either. They carry out the assignment they receive through a ‘murder broker’, because they strive for money and prestige within the criminal circuit, or because they are afraid of what their family will be done if they refuse. In all cases, the client instills more fear and awe in them than justice and the long prison term that hangs over her head.
Fatalistic, indifferent and addicted
Shurandy S. fitted the profile of such an easily blackmailed or influenced candidate. During the attack on Nabil B.’s brother, he was unstable and struggled with a cocaine addiction. In addition, he was promised a high reward of 100,000 euros. He has never seen a cent of that, he says. In fact, he assumed he wouldn’t make it out alive himself. “I was fatalistic, indifferent and addicted,” he told his judges.
There is one big difference with other hitmen: except about his client, Shurandy S. talked a lot in court. That is different with suspects of other attacks. “Right to remain silent” is the word they say most often. Or they deny any involvement. A slip of the tongue is quickly made, they know that people are eavesdropping outside and that traitors are not sure of their lives. Silence is golden. Speaking is lead. The sister of star witness Nabil B. accused Shurandy S. and all the other hitmen for “maintaining an inhumane system. Without loyal errand boys like you, there is no army.” The army is far from defeated.