A Dutch court yesterday rejected a suit brought by one of the Netherlands’ best-known gangsters seeking to block the release of a film about the 1983 kidnapping of beer tycoon Freddy Heineken.
Willem Holleeder, dubbed “The Nose” in the Dutch media, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for his role in kidnapping Heineken and his chauffeur and holding them captive in soundproof cells in an Amsterdam warehouse for three weeks until his family paid a US$36 million ransom.
Though all four kidnappers were eventually caught, about 20 percent of the money was never recovered.
Holleeder’s lawyers claimed the movie The Heineken Kidnapping, starring Rutger Hauer as the victim, would damage Holleeder’s image by making him appear more sadistic than he really is.
In a summary ruling, judge Wil Tonkens of the Amsterdam District Court rejected the suit without comment and said she would publish her reasoning on Oct. 28.
Lawyers for producers IDTV Film had argued the movie is a fictionalized version of events.
Holleeder, now 53, is not named in the movie, and filmmakers said they merged his character with that of another of the four real-life kidnappers — although one of the actors resembles Holleeder physically, including the prominent nose that is the source of his nickname.
The defense lawyers also argued Holleeder has little reputation left to lose.
He launched the suit from his cell in a high-security prison where he is serving a new nine-year sentence on unrelated extortion charges. One of his victims was real-estate magnate Willem Endstra, who had given a statement to police about a shakedown by Holleeder. Endstra’s subsequent murder in 2003 has not been solved.
IDTV lawyer Jens van den Brink said halting the 4.7 million euro (US$6.4 million) production just days before its Oct. 24 release would have been financially ruinous.
Heineken’s family also declined to cooperate with the filmmakers. He had inherited a small family concern and built it into the world’s third-largest brewer. After the kidnapping, Heineken became more reclusive and was believed to be the Netherlands’ richest man, worth US$3.6 billion when he died of pneumonia in 2002.
The two other living kidnappers have also said they do not want the film to go forward. The fourth, Cor van Hout, was slain in an unsolved gangland killing in 2003.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting