The Moroccan Taxi Mafia In Amsterdam
July 14, 2009
The Moroccan Taxi Mafia In Amsterdam
By EMERSON VERMAAT
It happened in the famous Amsterdam Leiden Square, right in the city center: a Dutch-Moroccan taxi driver named Sidi B. gave the deadly blow which killed 44 year old Dutch citizen Robert Franciscus Sitek. Sitek left a widow and three children.
It was on the early morning of Sunday July 5, 2009, that Robert Sitek wanted to get into a taxi in order to be driven home. He was living in Sloten, a tranquil and picturesque Amsterdam suburb now shaken by the brutal killing of one of its inhabitants. There was a kind of argument over the taxi fare between Sitek and the unfriendly Moroccan taxi driver who probably demanded too much money. The taxi driver's honor – a very important element in Moroccan and Turkish culture – was at stake and he struck Sitek in the face. Sitek fell to the ground and was taken to hospital where he subsequently died. Police quickly arrested Sidi B. who ran the small Dutch Moroccan taxi company "Taxi City."
Robert Sitek was cremated on Friday, July 10. I attended the impressive funeral service – together with some 500 others, the mayor of Amsterdam, Job Cohen, among them. There were also 50 taxi drivers from the "Taxi Centrale Amsterdam" (TCA). They parked their conspicuous TCA taxi-cabs in front of the cemetry entrance. "This is the least we can do," one of them told me. "These TCA taxi drivers are among the decent ones you can still find in Amsterdam," Rob Sitek's brother Ron told me later that day.
Indeed, this is exactly what many foreign tourists who visit Amsterdam also feel. This is equally reflected in a rather critical comment on Amsterdam's taxis in Lonely Planet's Amsterdam City Guide: "Amsterdam taxis are among Europe's most expensive. Worse, drivers tend not to know the streets; you often have to tell them how to get there. This is complicated because, as a group, taxi drivers are among the few people you meet in town who may not speak English well. A notable exception is Taxi Centrale Amsterdam (TCA)."
After the ill-fated liberalization of the Dutch taxi market in 2000, virtually everybody with a driver's license could call himself a taxi driver. Many of the new taxi drivers are ill-educated first or second generation immigrants from Turkey or Morocco. Some do not even know where the Anne Frank House, a major tourist spot in the heart of Amsterdam, is. At Amsterdam Central Station Moroccan taxi drivers simply took over the taxi market. Not so few of them were common criminals who raped or sexually harassed women and regarded the taxi business as an efficient means of laundering money. (Many Dutch Moroccans are involved in the illegal drug trade.) Other taxi drivers refer to them as "the Moroccan taxi mafia." When the authorities finally intervened, the Moroccan taxi drivers relocated the bulk of their activities to Leiden Square where they also claimed to have some kind of monopoly over others.
Talking to the Amsterdam based newspaper De Telegraaf, a Dutch Turkish taxi driver recently criticized his Moroccan colleages severely: "All of them are burglars and criminals. When they pick you up at your home and take you to Schiphol Airport, you can be pretty sure that your house will be robbed before you return from your holiday. No, you won't find my taxi in Leiden Square. You'll just find the lowest class of people over there."
Many passengers are ripped off by them. Young female passengers have been raped. Such a taxi driver often cannot keep his hands off a young blond woman and demands excessive fares from her. When his victim refuses to pay, the extremely rude taxi driver does not hesitate to say: "You can meet the bill by having sex with me." When he sees a pretty girl in the street, he invites her into his taxi. When she refuses to oblige he often lashes out against her by calling her a hooker. Some of these taxi drivers have knives and do not hesitate to use them. They often refuse short drives and intimidate and overcharge passengers. And, last but not least, they hate Jews.
The failure of "multiculturalism"
This has been going on for years. It was just a few days ago that Dutch Deputy Transport Minister Tineke Huizinga belatedly announced measures to curb the manifold excesses.
The problem, however, is the relationship between multiculturalism and crime, even after Pim Fortuyn still a taboo theme in the Netherlands. Fortuyn criticized the fact that immigrants from 60 countries were living in some areas of Rotterdam and that the few remaining native Dutch who were still living there were the real victims of discrimination. "The newcomers gradually dominate the neighborhood forcing their culture and behavioral norms on those who are living there." A small and densely populated country like the Netherlands cannot cope with it anymore, Fortuyn said. He was quickly branded by Labor Party and "Green" politicians as a racist.
Just like the ruling Dutch Labor Party, Tineke Huizinga's political party of leftist Christians, the "ChristenUnie" (CU) fully embraces the concept of a multicultural society while not sufficiently being aware of the existence of a "multicultural underworld" – a term, by the way, coined in 2001 by Dutch criminologist Frank Bovenkerk. "Within their own, secluded sphere of ethnic minorities," Bovenkerk wrote, "illegal organizations based on ethnic solidarity can develop quite well." Rob Sitek, decribed by relatives as a nice and humorous family man, is the latest victim of Amsterdam's sometimes violent multicultural society. I do not know why, but I did not see any representatives from the Dutch Moroccan community at Sitek's funeral service. And as far as I could see, all of the 50 TCA taxi drivers who parked their cabs on the car park in front of the cemetry entrance were native Dutch.
It was in 2003 that former Amsterdam police chief Joop van Riessen issued a warning, saying "multiculturalism is fine," yet it is true "that Amsterdam's multicultural society attracks foreign criminals." "It would be wrong to assume," van Riessen said, "that there won't be any killings here." Indeed, just quite recently, on July 12, two Albanians were killed by what witnesses described as four "negroid men." The killings took place somewhere in Amsterdam South, an area notorious for ethnic crime. Albanian, African, Surinamese and Antillean criminals are involved in money laundering, drugs, migrant trafficking, fraud and prostitution. Last June two other Albanians had also been killed in a house at Amsterdam's fashionable Prinsengracht.
In his 2007 memoirs van Riessen describes how the Amsterdam police often failed to effectively cope with the huge problem of Moroccan and Antillean crime. Young men evolved into hardened criminals who formed gangs and lenient judges and politicians were not helpful at all, van Riessen wrote. He decribes a Moroccan criminal network in Amsterdam that was involved in 50 bank robberies and 24 other major crimes. They were operating on a nationwide scale and had joined the real underworld. It took some time before the overburdened police were able to round up the whole criminal network.
Dutch Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst, who belongs to the Labor Party, now advocates a dramatic increase in immigrant participation in the government, the ministries and the police. This sounds fine with liberal politicians, of course. A problem which should not be ignored is that several successful attempts have been made by criminals and foreign agents to infiltrate the Dutch police as well as the Security and Intelligence Service (AIVD). Earlier this year, the usually well-informed Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf revealed that several Dutch "allochtonous" (non-native) policemen were related to known criminals. The AIVD reported in 2008 that the Moroccan intelligence service "is attempting to build a network of informants in the Netherlands, and also to gain access to confidential databases." "In pursuit of this aim, in 2008 it made use of Dutch police officers of Moroccan origin. After the AIVD revealed information about this activity, a number of Moroccan diplomats based in the Netherlands were recalled." (The Turkish intelligence service is probably playing a similar role.) The AIVD itself was deeply embarrassed by the case of Outman Ben Amar, a Dutch Moroccan interpreter and translator employed by the AIVD. It appeared that Mr. Ben Amar had passed on confidential information to terrorist networks.
Emerson Vermaat is a Dutch investigative reporter specialized in terrorism and crime. Website: www.emersonvermaat.com
Lonely Planet, Amsterdam City Guide (London: Lonely Planet Publications, 2008), p. 242.
De Telegraaf, July 8, 2009, p. 5 ("Anne Frankhuis? Nooit van gehoord!"). "Als je je laat ophalen om naar Schiphol gebracht te worden, kun je er de donder op zeggen dat je huis leeg is als je van vakantie terugkomt. Nee, mij niet gezien op het Leidseplein."
Algemeen Dagblad, July 8, 2009, p. 4 ("Taxi als witwas-dekmantel"). On money laundering by Moroccan taxi drivers.
Het Parool, July 6, 2009, p. 2, 3 ("Dit is de hel van Amsterdam"). 's Nachts staat hier ander volk: veel jonge Marokkanen. Het zijn struikrovers." "Als ze een meisje hebben weggebracht vragen ze in natura te betalen." (On sexual harassment by Moroccan taxi drivers.)
NRC Handelsblad (English internet edition), July 6, 2009 ("Man dies after fight with Amsterdam taxi driver").
Pim Fortuyn, Beklemmend Nederland (Utrecht: A.W. Bruna Publishers, 1995), p. 207; Pim Fortuyn, A hell of a job. Verzamelde columns (Rotterdam: Speakers Academy, 2002), p. 83-85. "Nederland is vol!" "Bij mij in de buurt zestig nationaliteiten, reuze gezellig, maar toch wel een beetje te veel van het goede." "De nieuwkomers overheersen allengs de hele buurt en leggen die hun cultuur en omgangsnormen op."
Frank Bovenkerk, Misdaadprofielen (Amsterdam: J.M. Meulenhoff, 2001, p. 122-159 ("De multiculturele onderwereld").
Netwerk (Dutch TV), September 21, 2003. See also: Emerson Vermaat, Misdaad, migratie en cultuur (Soesterberg: Aspekt Publishers, 2004), p. 20.
Joop van Riessen, In naam der wet. Veertig jaar bij de Amsterdamse politie (Amsterdam: Nieuw Amsterdam Publishers, 2007), p. 82, 94-98, 108, 121, 129-134, 153, 160, 179-192, 202-205, 224.
De Telegraaf, January 29, 2009, p. 1, 9 ("Allochtone agenten uit criminele families").
General Intelligence and Security Service (The Hague: AIVD, 2009), Annual Report 2008, p. 44.
Outman Ben Amar: author's files on Hofstad Group. See also: Advocaten AIVD-tolk vangen bot (http://intel.web–log.nl/intel/dossier_outman_ben_amar/index.html).