The quiet Dutch town of Laren was the scene of a rather spectacular assassination attempt the other day, when a man named Jeroen van Hasselt was stabbed by a wig-wearing assailant posing as a flower-delivery man.
Nice touch: the blade was hidden in a bouquet of lilies — flowers associated with purity and death.
Van Hasselt and a few brave passers-by managed to overpower the would-be murderer and turned him over to police.
Dutch media report that the attacker, whose name has not been revealed, is a member of the Orde van Transformanten (“Order of Transformers”), a ten-year-old sect of about a hundred people, most of whom live together in a Christian commune in the southwestern town of Hoeven. They claim to emulate Jesus and the original Christians, and try their darnedest to shed “destructive habits” like envy and sloth.
The assailant is thought to have worn a wig because male Transformanten shave their heads, and van Hasselt might otherwise have recognized him; he used to be a member of the sect himself, before abandoning the group and writing web exposés about it. Those articles are considered a possible motive.
It’s the second time that the small cult has been linked to the attempted murder of a disgruntled ex-member. In 2008, attackers shot and wounded Rotterdam businessman Frits Bebelaar. At trial, prosecutors presented evidence that the two suspects, both Transformanten, were behind the attempt. The red Toyota of one of them had been seen in Bebelaar’s street the day before the attack, and the suspects had followed the victim around with the use of a tracking device on his car. A Dutch judge ultimately ruled that the case was inconclusive, and the defendants were freed.
(Thanks to Nico for the tip)