Revealed: ‘Paedo-hunter’ gang was active weeks before murder of David Polfliet
Share article:
Share article:

Revealed: ‘Paedo-hunter’ gang was active weeks before murder of David Polfliet

A wake held in memory of the victim, David Polfliet. © Belga

The killing of 42-year-old David Polfliet in a park in Beveren in East Flanders on 6 March may not have been a premeditated murder driven by homophobia – as investigators are now assuming – but it might have been something even more worrying.

Three minors are currently detained in a locked young offenders’ institution in connection with the killing. Eight more have recently been arrested, suggesting the problem is more widespread.

David, an out gay man, was lured to the park in Beveren by the profile of a 15-year-old youth on the gay dating app Grindr. When he arrived at the arranged spot, he was confronted by three youths who demanded his money and valuables. When he refused, he was attacked, and sustained at least one wound to the thigh which touched an artery. He died in moments on the spot.

The circumstances of the attack, and the information that investigators have gathered since then, now tends to suggest the three youths are part of a semi-organised group who describe themselves as ‘paedo-hunters’, out to track down and entice men they consider to be paedophiles and then beat and rob them.

But not murder them – although the distinction is of no interest to the victim or their family. However the law does distinguish between someone who kills another human after preparation and planning, and sets out with the intention of killing; and someone who kills another without premeditation, for example in the process of committing another crime.

The question whether carrying a knife to an ambush is enough to be considered premeditation is one for the prosecutor, and then the court, to determine. But this case aside, the existence of gangs of self-described ‘paedo-hunters’ – made up in most cases of teenage boys – is of concern enough in the meantime.

Now police have arrested eight other youths – one an adult and brother of one of the Polfliet accused and the rest minors. They form part of the same gang, whose aim was to lure gay men into their trap and then rob them. The motive appears to have been robbery, with Grindr used as an easy way to entice victims.

The new accused are not linked to the murder of David Polfliet, but are accused of other offences. They are also being detained in the youth detention centre in Everberg outside of Brussels. After the weekend it may become more clear what exactly they are suspected of.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Non-vaccinated applicants no longer welcome at ZNA hospitals in Antwerp
The Antwerp hospital group ZNA is only taking on new employees who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to reporting from VRT. ...
Pharmacies prepare to administer more rapid antigen tests
From November, anyone presenting coronavirus symptoms for less than six days will be able to take a rapid antigen test in a pharmacy, announced the ...
The Quiz: Chocolate, Christmas, and cocaine
Do you consider yourself a news buff? Someone constantly on top of what's going on in the country you now call home? Then maybe you have what it ...
Introduction of Covid Safe Ticket leads more in Brussels to get vaccinated
The introduction of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) in the Brussels-Capital Region on 15 October seems to have lead to a higher number of residents ...
More and more testimonies, and a second rally against sexual violence in Brussels
A second rally against sexual violence was held in the Brussels neighbourhood of Ixelles on Thursday evening, and a sister-rally was held ...
Over 1,000 Covid-19 hospitalisations for first time since early June
The number of patients hospitalised in Belgium as a result of the coronavirus has again exceeded 1,000, climbing to 1,032, according to figures ...
Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...