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The Haemers Gang

The Haemers Gang

In the 80s, a brussels gang of criminals executed a series of violent security van robberies. The gang’s linchpin is patrick haemers: a blue-eyed top-tier gangster, nicknamed ‘le grand blond’ (‘the tall blonde guy’). Together with gang members philippe lacroix, thierry smars and later also basri bajrami he rises to the top of the criminal food chain.

The bloody raids on security vans, the brutal kidnapping of former belgian prime minister paul vanden boeynants and the capture of the gang members in brazil with the subsequent mediagenic interview are etched into our collective memories. In addition, haemers’ physique makes him an apparent fit for the ‘giant’ of the brabant killers gang and when he hangs himself in his prison cell in forest, his reputation takes on mythical proportions.

For the first time and almost 20 years after his suicide, exclusive witnesses who knew him well are willing to appear before the camera: his mother liliane pieters, his widow denise tyack and his son kevin. We also hear from former gang members philippe lacroix and basri bajrami, both released from prison in the meantime. The former lives in belgium while the latter moved to macedonia. There are also contributions from all the gendarmes and the members of the judicial police involved in the investigation, haemers’ lawyer, the prison guards in forest, the security van staff...

‘de bende haemers’ is a revealing reconstruction of the life of a rich kid who becomes public enemy number one. The six-part series that strikes a balance between the human interest angle and research journalism, offers a unique insight into the inner workings of one belgium’s most violent criminal gangs, set against the backdrop of the turbulent 80s.

 

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