38-year-old Japanese national Hiroyuki Ogu is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice and is being sought by police in Laos in relation to a murder enquiry linked to the death of his Norwegian girlfriend in January 2020. Efforts to locate the man by his family involving a former UN police chief in Norway have suggested he has been living in Thailand either in Ko Phangan where the couple first met or in Bangkok. However, some recent reports suggest the killer may have absconded to Cambodia.

A former Norwegian Justice Minister and member of the Justice Committee in the Norwegian parliament is calling for a boycott of Thailand by Norwegian travellers after a 30-year-old Norwegian woman who fell in love with a Japanese man in Ko Phangan, was murdered by him in Laos and has been reported to have been located in Thailand on several occasions. It has also been revealed that the murdered young woman is a daughter of a former Norwegian ambassador who may have become involved with a cross border drug smuggling gang on the paradise island in Surat Thani province.

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59-year-old Ellen Høiness with a photograph of her 30-year-old daughter Nerid Høiness as she waits in Tønsberg in southern Norway to hear news from authorities in Laos and Thailand on the execution of a Red Interpol notice that is in effect for the arrest of 38-year-old Japanese national Hiroyuki Ogu (left) who is the prime suspect in the murder of her daughter in Vang Vieng, Laos on January 9th 2020. A former Minister of Justice in Norway and member of the Committee on Justice at the Norwegian parliament or Storting, Per-Willy Amundsen (inset far right), this week, called for a boycott of Thailand after reports that experts working with the family have, on several occasions, located Mr Ogu in Thailand although some recent reports suggest that he may now have crossed into Cambodia.

A former Minister of Justice in Norway is calling for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo to issue a warning to all Norwegian travellers to Thailand after claiming the Japanese killer of a 30-year old Norwegian woman, Nerid Høiness, believed to have been murdered in Laos last year, is still suspected to be living in the kingdom.

However, recent reports in the past two weeks, suggest the Japanese killer who is also believed to have links to the illegal drugs trade, has moved to Cambodia based on his social media activity.

Former UN police chief has tracked down 38-year-old Hiroyuki Ogu to locations in Bangkok and Ko Phangan

A lawyer working for Ms Nerid’s family, Sidsel Katralen and a former police chief with the United Nations, Øyvind Olsen, are understood to have tracked down the Japanese man, 38-year-old Hiroyuki Ogu, on several occasions to locations in Bangkok and Ko Phangan in Surat Thani.

‘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,’ Mr Katralen recently told the media in the Scandinavian country.

Former Norwegian Justice Minister Per-Willy Amundsen wants to know why no one has been arrested for the young woman’s murder

41-year-old Per-Willy Amundsen, a member of the Progress Party in Norway’s parliament, the Storting, who served as Justice Minister from December 2016 to January 2018 while currently being a member of the Justice Committee in parliament, has also decried the fact that no one has been arrested yet for the murder of the 30-year-old woman.

Nerid Høiness’s body was found in a jungle outside Vang Vieng in Laos on January 22nd 2020.

Some two weeks before, after booking into the Freedom Hostel in the small town, credible witnesses had encountered her Japanese boyfriend when he was seen taking away her lifeless body from the couple’s room attached to his motorbike.

Daughter of Norwegian ambassador and diplomat 

It has emerged that Ms Nerid, whose mother Ellen has worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo for 38 years, is also the daughter of former Norwegian ambassador Hans Fredrik Lehne who served in various capacities around the world including being posted as Norwegian ambassador to Bangladesh before ending his career as a senior advisor at the Foreign Ministry in Oslo.

He died in the Spanish province of Malaga in 2018.

Scandal requires action from  Norwegian officials to expedite the arrest of the Japanese murder suspect

Speaking from Oslo this week, Mr Amundsen describes the current situation as a scandal which requires action from the Norwegian government.

‘It is a complete scandal that the man who abused and killed Nerid Høiness has not been arrested and brought to justice,’ he said. ‘If he is not arrested, the Norwegian government should warn Norwegian citizens to not travel to Thailand. In Norway’s official travel advice, there should be a warning against travelling to a country like Thailand, where the man who killed Nerid Høiness still goes free.’

Currently, Mr Ogu is listed in a Red Interpol notice available to all police agencies worldwide and is wanted by police in Laos on murder charges. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo has rejected the former minister’s suggestion saying the basis for its travel advice cannot rest on individual cases. It would have to conduct a review and assessment of the situation before a new advisory was issued based on the overall security situation in Thailand.

Main Norwegian newspaper covering the story

In Norway, the murder of Ms Nerid has been covered extensively by Dagbladet, one of the oldest and most widely circulated newspapers in Norway read by 1.4 million people every day across all media. 

Former Minister Per-Willy Amundsen has been calling on the current Minister of Justice in Norway and his successor in the role, Monica Mæland, as well as officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo, to step up diplomatic activity concerning the affair and to make contact with Bangkok to have the matter resolved.

Call for Norwegians to boycott Thailand if everything possible is not done by authorities in Bangkok

Failing that he is calling for Norwegians themselves to boycott Thailand.

In the last year of open tourism, 2019, approximately 246,000 visitors from Norway travelled to the kingdom, many being regular holidaymakers to the country who travel regularly towards the end of the year. 

This was before the Covid-19 emergency which effectively sundered Thailand from its normal foreign tourism trade between countries around the world, a situation that increasingly looks like it will not change until early next year.

‘I wish the Foreign Minister was more concerned with Norwegian citizens abroad than sitting on the UN Security Council,’ Mr Amundsen said critically in the last few days.

Tragic story commenced with the young woman’s interest in Yoga which eventually led her to Thailand

The tragic story of Nerid Høiness began through the Norwegian woman’s interest in Yoga which she studied in India before travelling to Bali and later to Thailand to find work.

Before that, and between visits to Asia, Ms Nerid worked as a waitress in Oslo.

Her 59-year-old mother, Ellen Høiness, who lives in Tønsberg, a small city in Southern Norway, first heard about her daughter’s death on January 24th 2020 when she received a call from her local priest.

Mother had already reported her daughter as missing to Norwegian police in December 2019 before hearing disturbing reports about her boyfriend

The death of her daughter did not come without warning as, in December 2019, Ellen had reported her daughter as missing to local police in Tønsberg having not heard from her in some time and after arguing with the young woman after she asked for Kr5,000 or ฿18,750 to buy a motorbike in Thailand for her boyfriend.

Her mother had noticed a marked change in her daughter since October 2019 after she returned to Ko Phangan and started a relationship with the Japanese man who she told her mother she intended to marry.

‘We had a close and very good relationship. Nerid used to say that I was her best friend,’ Ellen told Daglabet after her daughter’s murder last year.

Daughter wanted to marry the Japanese man after only knowing him for a few weeks in Thailand

She says that she first argued with her daughter when she told her she wanted to marry her Japanese boyfriend, Hiro, at the Norwegian Embassy in Bangkok. Her mother, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official, explained to the younger woman that that would not be possible as they were not both Norwegian.

Her mother reminded Nerid that she had only known this man for two and half weeks but her daughter got angry and contradicted her saying that it was three and half weeks.

Israeli prospective employer told the mother in Norway that her daughter had taken a wrong turn and was mixed up with crime and drugs on Ko Phangan

After losing contact with her daughter and on December 16th 2019 after reporting her as officially missing with the local police, Ellen Høiness made contact with an Israeli woman on Ko Phangan who her daughter was originally supposed to have worked for.

The woman told Ellen that Nerid had taken the wrong path in life and had become mixed up with a world of crime and drugs.

Then, within a week of reporting her missing, the relieved mother received a call from her daughter who had picked up reports that she was being searched for.

This was only weeks before the 30-year-old woman was to meet her death.

Norwegian brother spoke to other women who had been abused by the Japanese man who were also Scandinavian women and linked him with drugs

After Nerid’s death, her brother, also a child of former Norwegian Ambassador Hans Fredrik Lehne, tracked down other girlfriends of the Japanese man, who were also Scandinavian.

They reported that he was extremely controlling, abusive and that he made regular visits to Laos which were linked to drug running.

Motorbike trip to Laos from which she never returned

In January 2020, both Nerid and her Japanese lover travelled to Laos by motorbike and booked into a room at the Freedom Hostel in Vang Vieng.

Witnesses in Laos, who spoke to the local police, said they heard shouting and screaming coming from the couple’s room over a few days.

It is understood that Ms Høiness was murdered by her boyfriend on January 9th 2020. 

Body found amid rubbish in the jungle, two autopsy reports indicated that she was abused and strangled

Her decomposed body was located by police two weeks later amid rubbish in a jungle area but Nerid’s family had access to two autopsies which were conducted on the body, one in Laos and the other in Norway.

Both reports confirmed that the body of the young woman had been subjected to extreme physical abuse all over and that she had died from a broken larynx. She had been strangled by her boyfriend.

It has been suggested by some sources that the 38-year Japanese fugitive has claimed that the young woman took her own life after becoming hysterical.

Japanese man attached woman’s lifeless body with bamboo rods to his motorbike and drove off

On January 10th and 11th 2020, the Japanese man left the hostel and returned with bamboo poles which he is understood to have used to transport the lifeless body of his girlfriend to the jungle by attaching her to his motorbike.

‘My only and much-loved daughter has been abused and killed. Her dead body was taken out into the jungle, where it lay rotting in 30-degree heat,’ her mother told the press recently in Norway as her family there waits for justice for the young Norwegian woman and the arrest of Hiroyuki Ogu on murder charges.

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