Klaas Bruinsma (drug lord)
Klaas Bruinsma (October 6, 1953 – June 27, 1991) was a major Dutch drug lord, and the biggest drug lord Europe has ever seen, shot to death by mafia member and former police officer Martin Hoogland. He was known as "De Lange" ("The Tall One") and also as "De Dominee" ("The Reverend") because of his black clothing and his habit of lecturing others.
Bruinsma was born in Amsterdam as the second child to Anton Bruinsma and British E. Kelly. After the divorce of his parents at the end of the 1950s, and the subsequent move back to the United Kingdom by his mother, Bruinsma was raised by his father's housekeeper. In 1964, they moved to Blaricum. Bruinsma's father was founder and director of the Raak soda company; his four children had to clean bottles in the factory on Sundays.
While in high school, Bruinsma started using and selling hashish. When he was sixteen years old, he was arrested for the first time; he was let go with a warning. Later he was expelled from school, and in 1974 he decided to start working in drug trafficking full-time. Sales were conducted through Thea Moear, who eventually would become his business partner. Bruinsma was arrested and convicted in 1976; after his release from jail, he changed his identity to Frans van Arkel, aka "Lange Frans" ("Tall Frans"). Together with Thea Moear and Etienne Urka he started a new organisation; kickboxer André Brilleman became his bodyguard.
In late 1979, Bruinsma was convicted again for organising a major hashish transport from Pakistan. After his release from jail, he started enlarging his organisation, and expanded his market to large parts of Europe, including Germany, Belgium, France and Scandinavia. In 1983, he became involved in a gun fight over stolen supplies of cannabis; he shot several people and was also wounded himself. In 1984, he was sentenced to three years in jail for this incident. During this period in jail, his father died of cancer.
After his release in 1987, Bruinsma reorganised his drug organisation. Etienne Urka replaced Thea Moear as Bruinsma's main business partner, a new division for exploitation of gambling machines was formed under the supervision of Sam Klepper and John Mieremet, and Roy Adkins was appointed leader of the drug division. During this period, André Brilleman was accused of theft; he was brutally murdered and his body was encased in concrete and dumped in the river Waal.
At the end of the 1980s, Bruinsma had become the greatest drug lord in Europe. His organisation made millions of guilders per day. At that point, he was planning to retire, but not before pulling one last big coup. He imported 45 tons of hashish, but after the supply arrived in the Netherlands, it was confiscated by the police. After that, things went downhill for Bruinsma; he started using cocaine himself, and planned blackmailing other Dutch criminals. Etienne Urka became the new leader of his organisation.
Bruinsma and his gang often hung out at the Amsterdam luxury brothel Yab Yum. In 1990 Bruinsma and his associate Roy Adkins fought in the brothel after one of their operations had gone sour; shots were fired but nobody was injured and nobody talked to the police. Adkins was assassinated later that year. A newspaper article in 2006 reported that true ownership of the brothel had long been in the hands of mafia figures, beginning with Klaas Bruinsma, who called it "the club house". After Bruinsma's death in 1991, his associates Sam Klepper and John Mieremet and the Dutch Hells Angels took over control of the club.
On the night of June 27, 1991, Bruinsma became involved in a verbal argument with Martin Hoogland, an ex-police officer who was employed by the mafia at that time. Bruinsma was shot to death by Hoogland in front of the Amsterdam Hilton hotel at 4 a.m. that morning. Hoogland was himself murdered in 2004 while at prison.
After his death
Bruinsma did not leave a will; his brothers and sisters did not accept anything from his inheritance, so most of it went to his mother. The sail boats Amsterdammed and the Neeltje Jacoba were confiscated by the Dutch revenue service.
His associate Klepper was murdered in 2000; Mieremet survived an assassination attempt in 2002 but was murdered in 2005.
Martin Hoogland was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 1993. While serving time in an open correctional facility, he was shot to death on March 18, 2004.
On October 2, 2003, a former bodyguard of Bruinsma, Charlie da Silva, declared in the television show of Peter R. de Vries, that Mabel Wisse Smit had been a very close friend of Bruinsma's, and had been a regular guest on his yacht during the night. Wisse Smit, who at that point was engaged to Prince Friso, had told prime-minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Queen Beatrix that she had only been slightly acquainted with Bruinsma. Because of this incident, the Dutch government decided not to request permission of parliament for the marriage, causing Prince Friso to lose his claim to the Dutch throne after his marriage to Wisse Smit.
In 1992, the Bruinsma biography De Dominee. Opkomst en ondergang van mafiabaas Klaas Bruinsma was published by Parool journalist Bart Middelburg. In 2004, Gerrard Verhage made a thriller, titled The Preacher, loosely based on this book.
- Dutch killing reopens files on traffickers. The Independent, 11 May 1992.
- Yab Yum: exclusief én crimineel, BN DeStem, 3 May 2006; 'Ook sekshuis Yab Yum werd afgeperst'. Eindhovens Dagblad, 3 May 2006. (Dutch)
- (Dutch)"Alles is te herleiden tot Klaas Bruinsma"
- (Dutch)"Martin Hoogland"