Man wanted for murder of Norwegian still free in Thailand – Former Minister wants a boycott

Former Minister of Justice Per-Willy Amundsen. Photo: Lars Eivind Bones / Dagbladet

The man who is accused of killing Norwegian Nerid Høiness in Laos last year is according to reports still free in Thailand and former Norwegian Minister of Justice Per-Willy Amundsen wants a Norwegian boycott of the holiday country, local media Dagbladet reports. 

According to a recent article published in Dagbladet, the media reports that 30-year-old Nerid Høiness and her 38-year-old Japanese boyfriend Hiroyuki Ogu last year in January went on a motorcycle trip from the holiday island of Koh Phangan in Thailand to Vang Vieng in Laos where Nerid Høiness was reportedly abused and beaten to death. 

Dagbladet states that several witnesses have explained to the police in Laos that they had heard screams from the room the couple rented at the hotel for several days. On January 9, several people reported that they saw Hiroyuki Ogu carrying Nerid’s lifeless body out of the hotel, where he then strapped her body onto the motorcycle. Two weeks later, the body of Nerid Høiness was found dumped in the jungle in Laos. Laos police started their investigation and her boyfriend Hiroyuki Ogu was accused of the murder. Dagbladet states however that 467 days after the murder, Hiroyuki Ogu is still not caught. 

According to Dagbladet, Lawyer Sidsel Katralen, who is an assistant lawyer for Nerid’s family, confirms that little has happened.

“Japanese Hiroyuki Ogu is internationally wanted via Interpol for the murder of Nerid. Beyond that, neither the police nor other authorities in Laos, Thailand, or Norway have done much to get him arrested,” says Sidsel Katralen.

Dagbladet writes that Sidsel Katralen and the former UN police chief Øyvind Olsen have located Hiroyuki Ogu several times. “We have given the information both to the Norwegian authorities and to the police both in Bangkok and Koh Phangan. Unfortunately, he is still not caught, Sidsel Katralen says.

Now the former Minister of Justice and current member of the Storting’s Justice Committee Per-Willy Amundsen (Frp) has had enough. To Dagbladet, he says, “It is a complete scandal that the man who abused and killed Nerid Høiness has not been arrested and brought to justice”.

Per-Willy Amundsen says that it is incomprehensible that he has not been caught after the police in Laos put out an arrest warrant and the police in Thailand have been made aware of his whereabouts several times. 

The former Minister of Justice is now asking the Norwegian government to intervene and pressure the authorities in Thailand.

“If he is not arrested, the Norwegian government should warn Norwegian citizens to travel to Thailand. In Norway’s official travel council, there should be a warning against traveling to a country like Thailand, where the man who killed Nerid Høiness still goes free,” Per-Willy Amundsen says to Dagbladet. The former Minister of Justice believes the authorities in Thailand will react quickly if Norwegians stop traveling to Thailand.

Per-Willy Amundsen is also criticizing his successor as Minister of Justice, Monica Mæland, and the Ministry of Foerign Affairs for not taking the matter up with the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Thailand.

“I wish the Foreign Minister was more concerned with Norwegian citizens abroad than sitting on the UN Security Council,” says Per-Willy Amundsen.

According to Dagbladet, local police in Vang Vieng, Lao General Department of Police, and the police in Thailand have not answered Dagbladet’s questions about the case.

To Dagbladet, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that the Ministry does not establish travel advice based on individual cases, but does so when a comprehensive assessment of the security situation indicates that there is reason to warn Norwegians against traveling to a country or area. 

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