LAOS (TR) – Police here have placed a 38-year-old male Japanese national on an international wanted list over the alleged the murder of a Norwegian woman earlier this year.
According to Norwegian media, Hiroyuki Ogu allegedly strangled Nerid Hooiness, a 30-year-old Norwegian woman, to death.
On the site for Interpol, Ogu is shown in three photographs, one of which has him wearing glasses.
Other photographs that have emerged online show that his torso is heavily tattooed. In addition to Japanese, he speaks English, according to Interpol.
According to Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, Hooiness went to Asia to become a yoga instructor. Her mother told the paper that she first traveled to India and trained to become an instructor. Later, she went to both Bali and Thailand.
After meeting Ogu, Hooiness traveled with him from Phangan Island in Thailand to Laos around New Year’s Day. The pair stayed at the Freedom Hostel in the town of Vang Vieng.
Witnesses have told police in Laos that at the beginning of January they saw Hooiness being carried out of the hostel by Ogu and placed on a motorcycle.
Ogu and Hooiness dated for a short time. They traveled together to Laos from Thailand. Her body was found in a jungle in central Laos on January 22.
After she left home in Norway, Hooiness called her mother, Ellen, several times a week. “We talked for a long time,” he mother tells Dagbladet. “Her tone was always nice and good.”
But one day Hooiness suddenly told her mother that she was getting married. She had met a Japanese man named “Hiro.”
“When I said that you have only known him for two and a half weeks, she got angry,” her mother recalls. “They were going to the Norwegian Embassy in Bangkok to get married.”
Ellen has worked for 37 years within Norway’s Foreign Ministry. She then tried to explain to her daughter that it was not possible for her to marry at the embassy since the rules are such that it is only possible for Norwegian nationals to wed.
“I was very worried,” her mother tells the paper. “She wasn’t the Nerid I knew. The conversations became fewer and fewer. Gradually, strange things also appeared on her pages on Facebook and Instagram.
On the last Saturday in November, her daughter called again, asking that she transfer 5,000 kroner (about 50,000 yen) to her. Her mother refused, and the calls stopped.
“Just before Christmas last year, on December 16, I went to the police in Tønsberg [town in southern Norway] and reported Nerid missing,” her mother says.
“Happy New Year”
After learning that her mother was looking for her, Hooiness called her mother. But she didn’t want to come home.
On January 8, after her mother had sent a number of messages and tried to call, she received a message titled “Happy New Year.” It was written on an English keyboard, which was very unusual, her mother thought.
After that, her mother repeatedly called, but there were no answers. On January 24, the priest in Tønsberg called to say that her daughter was dead.
The brother of Hooiness managed locate several former girlfriends of Ogu via social media. One of them, a Nordic woman, claims she fled from him out of fear of her life, the brother says.
Dagbladet is familiar with the correspondence between the woman and the Hooiness family. The woman confirms that she is just one of several European women Ogu has had relationships with. She said that he made trips from Koh Phangan to Laos to collect drugs.
The brother obtained an autopsy report from authorities in Laos. The document said that her head had been partially crushed and her body had undergone various abuse.
The Institute of Forensic Medicine in Oslo also conducted an autopsy, whose results concluded that Hooiness died as a result of a crushed larynx.
Dagbladet has tried to obtain comment from the police in Laos. However, no police officials in the capital Vientiane and in the town of Vang Vieng have responded. Also not responding were officials within the Ministry of Public Security.