The Ministry of Defense has suspended a soldier for the first time because of his role in the world of motorcycle clubs. This is Sergeant Major Maurice Vissers. His declaration of no objection has been withdrawn, confirms his lawyer, Michael Ruperti.
Earlier this year, the ministry announced that the statement regarding the behavior of Defense employees will be withdrawn if they are involved in prohibited motorcycle gangs such as Satudarah, Hells Angels, No Surrender or the Bandidos.
Vissers is not a member of a forbidden club, but is vice president of the Veterans MC. That is a military motorcycle club in the Netherlands to which many soldiers and former soldiers are affiliated. He is accused, among other things, of having contacts with the Hells Angels. The clubs would maintain friendly ties.
Where the Ministry of Defense previously discouraged its staff from becoming members of ‘1% clubs’ – as motorcycle clubs are also called -, action is now being taken. Soldiers who, for example, have a child or a partner at a prohibited motorcycle club can also be removed from their ranks.
The Veterans MC is classified among the ‘outlawbikers’. “” Because Vissers has contact with the Hells Angels as vice president, Defense finds him a security risk, “says Ruperti. He trivializes those contacts.” Fishermen occasionally chat with members of the Hells Angels. For example at a party or when they meet each other en route. ”
The Ministry of Defense has given the soldier the choice: to leave the motorcycle club or Defense. According to Ruperti, the MIVD has not mentioned any other possible security risk and Vissers has no criminal record.
Defense says that a decision to withdraw is made with the utmost care. In a safety investigation, a thorough investigation is conducted into all facts and circumstances. Attention is paid to issues such as loyalty, safety awareness and integrity. Membership of an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMG) is also part of this. “Security at Defense comes first,” says a spokesperson. “We cannot comment on individual cases due to privacy.”
Defense confirms that a number of soldiers have been informed of the intention to withdraw their VGB, among other things because they are affiliated with an outlaw motorcycle club. The defense staff can then submit an opinion with their lawyer.
According to the latest figures, 52 people associated with the outlaw motorcycle clubs are employed by the government. Of these, 29 work for the Ministry of Defense, 14 for municipalities and 9 for other government institutions such as ministries or emergency services.
Earlier, Minister of Defense Bijleveld said that every employee must be of undisputed behavior and that a declaration of no objection can be withdrawn if someone has contact with criminal organizations. Attention to members of motorcycle gangs has been intensified in safety investigations over the past 1.5 years.
The Witch hunt
Military unions say it is good to screen personnel for security risks such as having financial problems and for links with criminal organizations.
“Soldiers must be of undisputed behavior,” says Jean Debie of the VBM trade union. “There are not many members of us whose VGB is withdrawn.”
Jan Kropf, general secretary of the ACOM, gives the same picture.
“Partners and first-line family members are included in the screening, it has been like that for years.”
“But it should not be a witch hunt,” says René Schilperoort, AFMP Vice President. It is right for someone to dispute that. “
Lawyer Micheal Ruperti expects all 27 defense employees whose VGB is withdrawn to go to court.