Scottish organised crime gang thug who helped set up crime writer murder is jailed for 25 years

A member of an organised crime gang who helped arrange the murder of a Dutch crime writer outside a sex club has been jailed for at least 25 years.

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Christopher Hughes, 33, was with Martin Kok, 49, when he was shot and killed outside the Boccaccio Club in Laren, Holland on December 8 2016.

He tipped-off the killer to Kok’s location and let them know when he was leaving the club.

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Hughes, from Glasgow, was following Kok to a waiting car when he paused to stroke a cat – giving the hitman time to fire eight bullets into the victim.

Murderer Martin Kok shot eight times after becoming a crime writer and exposing gangsters in The Netherlands

Earlier the same day, Hughes had also sent word to others when the pair were leaving the Citizen M hotel in Amsterdam, when an attempt was made on Kok’s life.

Kok led a celebrity life among the criminal classes in The Netherlands and was himself a convictet murderer.

He signed his own death warrant after setting up a website exposing criminals and was described as being addicted to cocaine and sex with prostitutes.

Following his death a number of clubs in Holland frequented by professional criminals staged mock wakes to mark his passing.

Hughes used a fake Latvian passport to travel around the globe. Pic: Crown Office

Hughes – a henchman for a Scottish crime consortium with links to Colombian cocaine cartels and other foreign drug traffickers – was also convicted of involvement in serious organised crime between July 2013 and January 2020 . This included possessing firearms, storing, concealing and transporting criminal money, drugs, and counter-surveillance equipment.

He was convicted of murder following a trial at the High Court in Glasgow and ordered to serve at least 25 years before applying for parole at the High Court in Stirling. .

Following the case Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Houston described him as “a dangerous individual” and said his conviction is “testament to Police Scotland’s commitment to relentlessly pursuing criminals who think they are untouchable or above the law.”

Kok was targeted after crossing a Moroccan crime syndicate involved in international drug smuggling while Hughes is a key figure on a Scottish criminal gang worth more than £100m.

Hughes with the fugitive Gillespie brothers. Pic: Crown Office

Police Scotland investigated the murder under the auspices of Operation Escalade which has resulted in gang members being jailed for a combined total of more than 100 years.

Laura Buchan, Procurator Fiscal for Specialist Casework, said: “Christopher Hughes was a key member of an organised crime gang for many years, facilitating criminal behaviour which culminated in the brutal murder of Martin Kok.

“The conviction of Hughes was truly a collaborative and international effort, and the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service worked closely with colleagues in both Scotland and Holland to ensure Hughes answered for his actions. It is thanks to this great work with international justice colleagues that we were able to prosecute Hughes.

Prosecutors said that for almost seven years between July 1 2013 and January 7 2020, Hughes was involved in an organised crime group with international reach.

Hughes organised the hit in Holand

He was involved in the importation and supply of cocaine, firearms and ammunition, money laundering, and the setting up of a company to supply encrypted communication devices to gangs throughout the world.

Some of the millions of pounds seized by Operation Escalade. Pic: Crown Office