• Share
  • Read Later

A score of Dutch policemen surrounded a baronial house near Amsterdam before dawn one day last week, while seven others, led by Amsterdam Police Chief Jeremias Posthuma, knocked on the front door. The master of the manor, Count van Rechteren Limpurg, appeared. "We have come for Westerling," announced Chief Posthuma. "My guest left last night," said the count icily. The chief and his men went inside to see for themselves.

After poking into corners, crawling under beds and tapping walls, the police were just about ready to leave when one of them found that a guest-room bed, while neatly made, was warm between the sheets. The room's carpet was loose in one corner. The cops pulled it up, yanked away some loose planking. There, in a two-foot-deep nook, lay a burly man dressed only in his underwear. "The jig's up," said he calmly. "I knew you were bound to find me some day."

Turk's Private War. The cops pulled their prey into daylight and eyed him warily. "Have you a gun?" one asked. The man coyly examined himself, peeked inside his undershirt with a smile. "No," he said. The cops let their man dress and breakfast on ham & eggs, then carted him off triumphantly to Amsterdam. At last they had captured the notorious Captain Raymond ("Turk") Westerling, international buccaneer and soldier of misfortune.

For nearly two years Turk Westerling had been a fugitive from his own countrymen, and from the Indonesian Republic—wanted by both for homicide and other crimes committed in Indonesia after the islands won their independence from The Netherlands. A burly, moonfaced lone wolf who was born in Istanbul 32 years ago of a Dutch father and Greek mother, he served in World War II with the Australians in North Africa, and as one of Lord Mountbatten's bodyguards in Asia; he became a Moslem, twice made the pilgrimage to Mecca. When the Dutch gave up their effort to hold on to Indonesia in 1950, Turk didn't. He organized a private guerrilla army of some 10,000 East Indies Moslems and Dutch deserters, terrorized a large area of West Java before the young Indonesian Republicans checked his army, "The Heavenly Host."

He batted around the world, dodging extradition to Indonesia, and in 1950 he found grudging asylum in Brussels. There, never rich enough to give up dreaming of wealth and new adventures but never quite poor enough to feel obliged to take a job, he flirted with new schemes of an uprising in the Indies. He sent his wife and three children back to The Netherlands, and recently crossed the border himself to visit them and some friends. It was on that expedition last week that Amsterdam police caught him.

Back to the Dishes. In Amsterdam the day after his capture, Turk Westerling appeared before Magistrate Johannes Knottenbelt, apparently quite resigned to a stretch in prison. The magistrate blandly ruled that there were no grounds for holding Turk Westerling, and freed him on his promise to the cops that he would not go back into hiding. The Netherlands' Minister of Justice promptly protested the ruling. But with police trailing him at a discreet distance, the buccaneer swaggered to freedom—at least for the present.

  1. Previous Page
  2. 1
  3. 2