HomeClark Olofsson: The Swedish Criminal who Inspired the Stockholm Syndrome

Clark Olofsson: The Swedish Criminal who Inspired the Stockholm Syndrome

Netflix has released a new series “Clark” today which details the life of the Swedish criminal Clark Olofsson. The six-part series charts the titular character’s life from being a petty thief to a drug smuggler. So who exactly is Clark Olofsson and what is this Stockholm Syndrome? Read on the story of this crazy criminal who lives a carefree life today.

Who is Clark Olofsson?

Clark Oderth Olofsson, who later came to be known as Daniel Demuynck, is a Swedish criminal who now resides in Belgium. He received numerous sentences for attempted murder, bank robbery, assault and drug smuggling. He has spent most of his life in correctional institutions in Sweden.

Born in Trollhättan, Sweden into a home with extensive alcohol problems, Olofsson faced numerous other problems. Olofsson’s father left his mother when he was 11 years old and thereafter, she fell ill and was admitted into a psychiatric hospital. Olofsson was put into foster care along with his two younger sisters.

Oloffson Sails around the World…

Oloffson was sick of his foster family and wanted to get out. The 14-year-old forged his mother’s signature and enrolled in a sailor’s school. On the ship Ballade, he sailed around the world, including Japan and South America.

At 15, he disembarked from the boat and moved home to his mother who was doing well. Even the other two children were returned to her care. However, in the 1960s, the 16-year-old Oloffson indulged in petty crimes and was placed in a behavioural institution for young offenders. However, he escaped the institution along with two other boys.

Thereafter, Clark entered the country estate of Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander at Harpsund where he stole grapes, cucumbers and tomatoes but was caught by the gardener. Later, he assaulted two police officers. In 1966, he was sentenced to three years in prison, his first real prison sentence. He managed to escape from there as well.

Clark Olofsson became a nationally known criminal by 1966. He was involved in Burglary along with Gunnar Norgren. Later, when Olofsson was going to a mountain heel with his 20-year-old girlfriend, two policemen tried to arrest him but Olofsson shot one of them in the shoulder.

Olofsson was sentenced to 8 years in prison for the said crime. However, in 1969, he again managed to escape from the Kumla Prison and fled to the Canary Islands. Later, he entered West Germany on a fake passport but was arrested by a German officer. He was taken back to the Kumla prison.

Two months before his release, Olofsson again escaped. It was like he enjoyed playing this escape game with the police. In 1973, Olofsson was arrested again in Ulricehamn. At the time of his arrest, he had been on a run for seven months and had robbed a bank in Gottenburg.

Norrmalmstorg Incident and Stockholm Syndrom

 

Olofsson was sentenced again to six years in prison and was transferred to Kalmar Prison. However, in late 1973, he was incarcerated at the Norrköping Prison when bank robber Jan-ErikOlsson took hostages at Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg, Stockholm.

A strange incident took place when Olsson demanded that Clark should be allowed to come to the bank and spend the next six days with the hostages. This event subsequently led to the creation of the phrase “Stockholm syndrome.”

Olofsson was convicted in the district court but was later acquitted. The reason was plain and simple. He acted to protect the hostages and had the silent consent of the police.  acted to protect the hostages and had the silent consent of the police. He was taken back to prison to serve the remainder of his previous sentence. He sought pardon from the government but the application was rejected along with his request to study law. 

What is the Stockholm Syndrome?

Stockholm syndrome is a condition in which hostages develop a psychological bond with their captors during captivity. It results from a rather specific set of circumstances, namely the power imbalances contained in hostage-taking, kidnapping, and abusive relationships.

The phrase was coined after the Norrmalmstorg in which Olofsson was involved. VHostages became sympathetic towards their captors and after the event, some of them even refused to testify against the bank robber.

The greatest Robbery in Swedish History…

In 1976, Olofsson robbed Handelsbanken, a Swedish bank of around SEK 930,000. At the same time, he took two people hostage. He was arrested at 22:30, nine hours after the robbery, at hotel Gyllene Kärven in Herrljunga.

SEK 230,000 was recovered at Olofsson‘s arrest; the rest was never found. For the record robbery, he was sentenced to eight years in prison, but three weeks after the verdict, in July 1976, he fled again, and this time, with several fellow prisoners. 

Clark takes up Journalism

In 1979, Olofsson began his journalism studies at Stockholm University as a prisoner. During a leave, he got indulged in a fight with a prisoner and was sentenced to two and half years in prison. However, he managed to graduate in journalism in 1983. During this time, he also managed to marry a Belgian girl.

In November 1984, he was arrested in the port city of Blankenberge in Belgium, suspected of having tried to smuggle 25 kilograms of amphetamine into Sweden with the so-called Televerksligan (“Televerket Gang”). He was sentenced to ten years in prison for complicity in an aggravated felony drug offense. 

Clark Becomes a Free Man

In 1991, Olofsson was released and he changed his name to Daniel Demuynck. In 1998, he was arrested in Tenerife as the head of drug smuggling after being wanted internationally via Interpol for several months. The next year, Olofsson was sentenced to 14 years in prison for smuggling 49 kilos of amphetamine into Denmark. FYI, this was the most severe punishment for drug offenses in Danish Legal History.

However, Olofsson was released on parole in 2005. He continued smuggling drugs until he was again arrested in 2009 to 14 years in prison, followed by lifetime deportation. In February 2017, Olofsson turned 70 years old and was granted new Swedish citizenship.

In the year 2018, Clark Olofsson walked out of the Landvetter Airport outside Gothenburg as a free man. Today, Clark, 76 lives in Belgium without a care in the world and has six children from different relationships. Some people just get lucky, don’t they, eh?

The Netflix Series

Clark was released today on Netflix as a miniseries that follows the true story of Clark Olofsson. The character of Clark Oloffson is portrayed by Bill Skarsgard. The Swedish criminal made a name for himself in the 1970s as he charmed the general public despite his wrongdoings.

The six-part miniseries shows how Clark breaks out of prison a whopping 17 times, his involvement in various crimes and several instances of assaults. Despite this, today Clark lives in Belgium peacefully. So why did he not spend the rest of his life in prison for the kind of crimes he committed? Binge-watch the show today and let me know!

Mallika
I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.
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8 COMMENTS

  1. This is another story which shows the great white privilege in our world. This is how white men benefit from that privilege. They get to live free and get a show on Netflix about them. Meanwhile black men are dying at the hands of police for broken taillights. But it’s an interesting story nonetheless.

    • OMG does everything has to be racism? You don’t want racism stop making big deal about skin color, after all it’s just pigment like in hair color. You don’t say that blonds or redheads are privileged do you? Just stop! Lately the biggest racists are people who constantly accuse others of racism!!!

      • Lomalicious is right though. We need to ‘make a big deal’ out of these issues for them to change. I think you’re being racist for dismissing this very big and real problem in our world. Black people suffer so much more than white people for doing less.

  2. It was extremely rare to see a black person during this time in Sweden. Of course there was rasism back then in Sweden as well – hell there’s even a scene in the series about the Norrmalmstorgsdrama where Janne Olsson robs the bank, dressed as an arab. The media and real reports from that time had a field day. But at that time, almost all criminals in Sweden were white.

    It wasn’t until the early 2000 that black people, and people of other colours became more frequent in Sweden.

    There’s even a few bad clips from movies produced by Swedish State TV that uses the N-word to describe a black person:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcUHjv1QOb4

    Here’s another clip from another movie, called Sunes sommar:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Vb_FY_mDNI

    Again, rare with black people in Sweden at the time.

    It isn’t until recently that the debate regarding the sentencing and the punishment should be adjusted. I mean, if you killed someone and was under 21, you couldn’t be sentenced to more than 12 years (You’ll be eligible for parole in 8). That law is gone now, and everybody can be sentenced to life.

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