Dutch police discover “underworld prison” in shipping containers

Still image from the video footage released by the Dutch police captured during the raid on June 22, 2020.

The results of an investigation that dates back to April are just being released by the Dutch police.


On June 22, 2020 police conducted a total of 13 searches on various locations in Hague, Rotterdam, Spijkenisse, Utrecht, Nieuwegein and Lexmond.


These searches resulted in the arrests of six individuals, confiscation of 25 firearms including a Chinese variant of the Kalashnikov AK-47, 24 kilograms (approximately 52 pounds) of MDMA (commonly known as Ecstasy,) and even the recovery of several stolen vehicles.


Also recovered were several sets of police clothing, flashlights and bulletproof vests.


The most shocking discovery though, is what police found when they opened seven shipping containers.


“Six of the containers were intended as cells in which people could be tied up and one container was intended as a torture chamber,” Andy Kraag, head of the police’s National Investigation Service, was quoted by GlobalNews.ca as saying, adding that the police operation “prevented a number of violent crimes.”


The six cells were outfitted with handcuffs affixed to the floor and ceiling, a chemical toilet, and walls covered with both soundproofing material and heat-insulating material.  Affixed to a corner of each cell were cameras that provided a clear view of the small area and enabled remote monitoring.


The final container had the same materials on the walls, but had a dentist chair with straps at the arms and feet.  In what was referred to as the "treatment room," police also located pruning shears, loppers, branch saws, scalpels, pliers, extra handcuffs, fingercuffs, tape, balaclavas and black cotton bags.


Police became aware of the plot to kidnap a number of individuals by gaining access to an encrypted chat service, EncroChat.  Once they knew who the intended targets were, police warned them and they were able to disappear into hiding.


According to the statement released, police conducted their raids as the containers were nearing completion, but before they were ever able to be put into use.


The breaking of the encryption of EncroChat, completed by the French Police has resulted in the arrest of 746 suspects throughout Europe and the United Kingdom, and the seizure of more than 54 million pounds ($68 million) in criminal cash, 77 firearms and more than 2 tons of drugs.


On Monday, a court in Amsterdam ordered the six arrested to be held for 90 days as the investigation continues.