Amsterdam police end hostage situation at Apple flagship store

A person takes a picture of a bullet impact on the shop window of the Apple's flagship store in central Amsterdam [Olaf Kraak/ANP/AFP]

Dutch police have ended a hostage-taking in an Apple flagship store in Amsterdam after a man armed with two guns held at least one person hostage for hours.

Police said on Wednesday that the suspected hostage-taker, a 27-year old man from Amsterdam, was arrested after he ran out of the building at the central Leidseplein square, shortly after 10:30pm (21:30 GMT) on Tuesday.

“We managed to end the situation by hitting the hostage-taker with a car when he ran outside,” police said on Twitter, adding that the man was being treated for serious injuries.

The man was carrying a pistol and an automatic rifle, with which he fired at least four shots when police arrived at the square approximately 6pm (17:00 GMT), Amsterdam police chief Frank Pauw told a news conference on Wednesday morning.

An hostage-taker puts his arm around the neck of an hostage during at the Apple Store on Leidseplein in Amsterdam
A hostage-taker puts his arm around the neck of a hostage at the Apple Store in Amsterdam [Dim Balsen/ANP/AFP]

The man, who had a criminal record, had contacted the police himself during the hostage-taking, demanding a ransom of 200 million euros ($226m) in cryptocurrencies and safe passage out of the building, Pauw said.

“He threatened a hostage with a gun and threatened to blow himself up, so we took it very seriously”, Amsterdam newspaper Parool quoted the police chief as saying.

‘A heroic role’

The situation ended when the hostage, reportedly a 44-year old British man, fled from the building when a police robot delivered water at the door of the shop at the request of the hostage-taker.

The hostage-taker ran after the man and was quickly hit by the car.

“The hostage played a heroic role by forcing a breakthrough,” Pauw said. “Otherwise, this could have been a long night.”

During the evening, about 70 people were able to leave the shop while the hostage-taking was going on. There were no reports of any other injuries.

The hostage-taker was seriously injured, but able to speak when he was arrested, police said.

“We are so incredibly grateful and relieved that our employees and customers in Amsterdam are safe after this terrifying experience,” Apple said in a statement, thanking Dutch police for “exceptional work”.

Dutch police in Amsterdam
A police officer stands near an Apple shop in Amsterdam during a hostage incident [Piroschka van de Wouw/Reuters]
Source: News Agencies