January 30, 2015 / 11:20 AM / 3 years ago

Hostage-taker at Dutch TV had no terrorist links: police

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A man who forced his way into the studios of Dutch national broadcaster NOS and demanded to go on live television had no known links to terrorist organizations and acted alone, police said on Friday.

A man surrenders to the police in a TV studio of Dutch national broadcaster NOS in Amsterdam in this still image taken from a January 29, 2015 video. REUTERS/NOS via Reuters TV

During the incident Thursday evening the 19-year-old took a hostage, waving a replica pistol and demanding to address the nation, apparently about a conspiracy theory. Television footage showed the youth, who wore a suit, offering no resistance when police arrested him at gunpoint.

Police said Friday he had admitted fabricating claims of having explosives and belonging to a ‘hackers’ organization. “There is no evidence of any connection with other events in the Netherlands or abroad,” a police statement said.

No one was harmed in the incident in Hilversum, 20 kilometers (12 miles) east of Amsterdam. But it raised questions about the effectiveness of security measures in the wake of the deadly attacks on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

It also forced the NOS off the air for the 8 p.m. news - the most widely viewed evening news program in the country.

The suspect, whose name is not being released due to Dutch privacy laws, was to be arraigned in a closed court hearing later on Friday.

Police spokeswoman Hilde Bakker said the man faces charges of kidnapping and making threats of violence. Dutch media identified the man was a first year student at the University of Delft, and quoted classmates saying he led a rich fantasy life.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Dominic Evans

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