Man with fake gun disrupts Dutch broadcaster NOS

  • Published
Media caption,

The 'gunman' dropped his weapon when police stormed the studio

A man wielding a fake gun has been arrested in a studio of Dutch news broadcaster NOS, causing the main evening bulletins to be cancelled.

Staff were evacuated from the building in the Media Park in the city of Hilversum.

The man, smartly dressed and carrying what appeared to be a long pistol, paced around a studio, reportedly demanding airtime.

Armed police then stormed into the studio and overpowered him.

Prosecutors later said that the man, aged 19 and from the town of Pijnacker near The Hague, was in police custody.

He is being held on suspicion of making a threat, weapons possession and taking a hostage, officials added.

Police combed the building, declaring it safe shortly after 22:00 (21:00 GMT).

Justice and Safety Minister Ivo Opstelten said it appeared that the man had been acting on his own.

During the disruption to the NOS news programme, the channel broadcast a message reading: "In connection with circumstances, no broadcast is available at this time."

Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Staff were evacuated from the studios while armed police searched the buildings

The man's motive was unclear. Dutch media reported that he was believed to be a student at a technical university and had been living with his mother and stepfather.

The NOS footage shows him saying: "The things that are going to be said [pause] - those are very large world affairs. We were hired by the security service."

A threatening letter the man allegedly gave to staff, warning of bomb and cyber attacks if he was prevented from going on air, has been published on the NOS website (in Dutch).

A reporter who spoke to him said he had claimed to be from a "hackers' collective", AP news agency says.

Studio arrest

When the channel came back on the air, it broadcast video of the man wandering about a studio.

According to NOS director Jan de Jong, he had wanted to go to the main evening news studio but instead a guard took him to a studio where daytime bulletins are broadcast.

Dressed in a black suit, white shirt and black tie, and carrying what appeared to be a long black pistol, he can be seen on the video walking around in the studio, which appears to be empty.

Armed police then storm in, shouting: "Drop it! Drop it! Get on your knees!"

He drops the gun, saying: "I dropped it. It's dropped."

Police then put handcuffs on him and take him away.

According to Mr de Jong, the man had a list of demands and wanted 10 minutes' airtime.

Controversial politician Pim Fortuyn was shot dead in the Media Park in 2002 after giving a radio interview.