• Norway's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Memory loss mystery man identified as Czech

The Local/AFP · 10 Apr 2014, 10:09

Published: 09 Apr 2014 23:00 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Apr 2014 10:09 GMT+02:00

"We have have received information through Interpol identifying the man as a Czech citizen," Øyvind Torgersen told VG newspaper. 
 
'John Smith' speaks fluent Czech and excellent English, as well as Polish, Slovak and Russian, and was found unconscious in a snowdrift in an industrial area of Oslo on December 15th. 
 
When he awoke from a two-day coma, he had lost all memory of his identity and nationality. 
 
On Wednesday afternoon, the man expressed his happiness at being identified. 
 
"I had feared it would take a long time to figure out who I was, but it has taken only two days. It's absolutely fantastic," he told VG newspaper. 
 
The tall, young amnesiac was found helpless in the snow near a carwash. How he got there, and from where, "Smith" claims to have no idea.
 
"What apparently has happened is that I was robbed, I was for sure sexually assaulted, and then I was thrown onto a street in Oslo," he told AFP on Wednesday.
 
"What might have happened is that they took advantage of the fact that Europe has open borders -- this amazing European invention -- and that they basically used Oslo as a garbage place to dump me," he said, without knowing who "they" are.
 
Police refused to comment on the more personal aspects of his testimony, but the violent and sexual crime unit has been put in charge of the investigation.
 
"Maybe I was too trustful. Maybe I let some people too close to me and they had some fun with me," said "Smith".
 
Aged about 20, "John Smith" was in a very weak condition and poorly dressed for the severe Norwegian winter when discovered in December.
   
"I was already blue in face," he said. "If nobody saw me, I would definitely have been dead by the morning, most probably much, much sooner."
 
Story continues below…
"I had on my wrists very big, very bloody traces of plastic strips that they use to tie up cables ... It was so tight that even now you can still see spots on my wrists," he said.
 
Police initially turned to international police organization Interpol and more than a dozen nations to compare fingerprints and DNA with their databases to unravel the mystery, but in vain.
 
No closer to a solution, law enforcers took the extra step on Tuesday of releasing the man's photo to the public, in the hope of finding new clues.
 
While 'John Smith' remembers nothing about himself, he is sure of one thing: he is a stranger in Norway.
 
"I don't think I've ever been here before in this country," he said.
 
"I don't think I came to this country out of my own free will because I'm used to a very different weather, a much warmer weather. The weather here is basically hurting me."

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.no)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Iraqi activist Yanar Mohammed wins Norway prize
Martin Paulsen, the head of the Rafto Prize committee, announced Yanar Mohammed as this year's recipient. Photo: Marit Hommedal / NTB scanpix

Four previous recipients of the award have gone on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

International students say Norway is the best
The University of Oslo was the only Norwegian school to get the 'outstanding' designation. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Norway is Europe’s best destination for international students, according to a recently-released report.

Oslo passes 'climate budget' to cut emissions
Central Oslo seen from Holmenkolmen. Photo: Haakon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

The Oslo City Council passed a ‘climate budget’ on Wednesday that lawmakers said would ensure that a number of green initiatives actually get implemented.

Oslo court denies Snowden no-extradition pledge
When Snowden was awarded Norway's Bjørnsonprisen last year, he appeared via satellite. Photo: Svein Ove Ekornesvåg / NTB scanpix

UPDATED: Whistleblower reacts to court's decision to refuse to pledge safe passage.

Norway to go after ‘asylum cheats’
Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

Integration minister vows to revoke permits from those "who have fooled us".

Taking the environmental bite out of salmon fishing
Henri Lapeyrere, the CEO of Leroy France, points to the nets of Leroy's aquaculture salmon farm in Hitra Bay, west of Trondheim. Photo: Céline Serrat/AFP/Scanpix

The Norwegian salmon industry is trying to limit its environmental harm, but there's still a long way to go.

New 'idiotic' trend feared at Norway's Trolltunga
Swedish tourist Sarah Persson said the stunt was viewed by several other climbers. Photo: Sarah Persson

A photo of a dangerous stunt at the popular tourist attraction has tour guides worried that others will follow suit.

Norwegian kids are fourth fittest in the world
Norwegian children warm up for a kids' marathon in Oslo. Photo: Berit Roald / Scanpix

Norwegian kids have some of the highest level of aerobic fitness in the world, according to a recently-released international study.

Lithuania eyes Norway air defence deal amid Russia fears
Lithuania is looking at spending as much as €100 million on the NASAMS air-defence systems. Photo: Kongsberg Defence Systems

Norwegian anti-aircraft missile systems would address the defence gap on Nato's eastern flank.

Video
Fake Norway ‘apology’ video angers Israel
The video is a fake apology from the National Theatre of Norway. Photo: Lise Åserud / NTB scanpix

See the video that the Israeli Foreign Ministry wants "removed from every site" on the internet.

Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
'I am so very happy and lucky to be alive': Freed Norwegian
International
'I am so very happy and lucky to be alive': Freed Norwegian
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Society
Hijab discrimination: Praise, Nazi comparisons and conspiracy theories
Facebook thanks Norway PM after censorship row
Society
Facebook thanks Norway PM after censorship row
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Expats say it's not just Norway's weather that's cold
Society
Expats say Norway is a cold place (and they don't mean the weather)
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
323 reindeer killed by lightning in Norway
Frozen effect bringing 'too many tourists' to Norway
Travel
Frozen effect bringing 'too many tourists' to Norway
Norway's angel princess divorces novelist husband
Norway's angel princess divorces novelist husband
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Norwegian motorist kills 19 reindeer in bloody collision
National
Norwegian motorist kills 19 reindeer in bloody collision
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
'Tick here please': Changing gender in Norway gets easier
Lifestyle
'Tick here please': Changing gender in Norway gets easier
Danish scientist: Mysterious 'blue blob' caused by weather
National
Danish scientist: Mysterious 'blue blob' caused by weather
Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes
Education
Norwegian school permits burkini in swimming classes
Norway's ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
National
Norway makes ‘biggest sovereignty concession’ to EU in years
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
International
Norway boosts defence against Russia threat
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars
National
FACT-CHECK: No, Norway isn’t banning diesel and petrol cars – yet
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
National
Norway aims to be climate-neutral by 2030
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
National
Migrant numbers plunge as Norway now 'less attractive'
2,060
jobs available