Sickening torture chamber discovered in shipping containers
Dutch police have discovered a sickening torture chamber complete with a dentist's chair and handcuffs.
The "underworld prison" torture cell was kitted out with a dentist's chair along with gruesome equipment including pruning shears, a saw, scalpels and pliers.
Officers discovered the soundproof torture chamber hidden inside seven shipping containers following a huge hack of a Europe-wide criminal phone system.
Police were able to decrypt messages from a EncroChat phone that included photos of the container and a dentist's chair with belts attached to the arm and foot.
Disturbing messages referred to a "treatment room".
The identities of potential victims - who had been warned and fled into hiding - were also uncovered.
Six suspects were arrested after armed police raided a warehouse.
Andy Kraag, head of Dutch police's central investigations division said: "Six served as prison cells in which people could have been tied up and one other container had the sole purpose of being a torture chamber."
A video supplied by police showed armed officers raiding the premises, situated near the southern Dutch city of Bergen op Zoom, south of Rotterdam.
The containers were soundproof and covered inside with foil in what police believe was a bid to make them invisible to thermal imaging cameras. All had handcuffs installed to the floor and the ceiling.
The kidnappings of the people destined for the cells were planned with "great precision", police said, involving several teams, weapons, and fake police clothes, vans, stop signs and bulletproof vests.
Police recovered pruning shears, loppers, a saw, scalpels, pliers, handcuffs, finger cuffs and masking tape, saying the implements were "to torture victims or in any case, to put them under pressure".
Dutch police chief Jannine van den Berg said the discovery of the cells came after French and Dutch police hacked the EncroChat network, which was announced last week along with the arrest of around 800 people across Europe.
"We already announced then that there was more to come. The discovery of this underworld prison is an example of this," she said.
Police also raided the criminal gang's "base" in Rotterdam and found police uniforms, body armour, stolen vehicles, 25 firearms and drugs.
- with wires
Originally published as Sickening torture chamber discovered