The alleged killer of a New Zealand man stabbed to death in Thailand has changed his name and moved to small-town Sweden.
Former Upper Hutt man Robert Hollick, 43, died after being knifed in the neck at a bar in tourist hot spot Pattaya last August.
Thai police arrested and charged Swede Andreas Ringvall with his murder, but he left the country last October in unusual circumstances after paying 500,000 baht, more than $20,000, in bail.
After repeated inquiries by The Dominion Post, Thai authorities said an investigation into Ringvall's disappearance had begun and an extradition request would be made to Sweden.
Further investigations have revealed Ringvall has changed his name to Andreas Karlsson, a much more common Swedish surname. He is understood to be living in the small town of Nynashamn, which has a population of 13,000, and he is working there as a labourer.
Speaking to The Dominion Post, Ringvall's stepfather, Stefan Uddebrant, said he was aware of what had happened in Thailand, but Ringvall refused to talk about it.
He had last spoken to him about five weeks ago and they did not discuss the situation.
"The only person who could answer your questions is him. We don't know what's happened. Only him (sic) could answer your questions."
A phone number for Ringvall went unanswered.
It is unlikely Ringvall will be sent back to Thailand, as no extradition treaty exists between the countries, but it is possible he could be charged in Sweden.
Police Colonel Superintendent Sinard Ajhanwong, of Thailand, said progress was being made on the case, but everything had to be done "officially".
"Please understand, I'm doing my best in pursuing extradition. We will send the usual legal assistance, the case, to Sweden to trial him. The Nordic liaison officer in Bangkok has been asked to do this, too."
Swedish National Police Board press secretary Dan Svanell confirmed they had been in contact with their Thai counterparts, but had no further comment to make about the investigation.
Mr Hollick's mother, Anne Hollick, said she hoped Ringvall would be tried soon, as everything was becoming overwhelming.
"I do feel it will come to a trial because, obviously, he's still in Sweden and they all know where he is. If he tries to leave, I'm sure they'll know."
In January, the Thai ambassador to New Zealand, Noppadon Theppitak, wrote to Ms Hollick, reassuring her he would look into the matter.
"Though I have every confidence that all efforts are being made by the relevant authorities to see that justice is to be served as it should be, I can assure you that I will also do my best to see that the matter is resolved and justice can be brought to your family as soon as possible."
A spokesman for Mr Theppitak said yesterday the ambassador had "no comment".
THE STORY SO FAR
August 21, 2012: Robert Hollick is stabbed three times in the neck and dies after a bar fight in the Thai town of Pattaya. Swedish man Andreas Ringvall is arrested and charged with murder. His girlfriend is also detained but later released.
August 24: Ringvall is granted bail after paying 500,000 baht (more than $20,000) and given his passport, but the immigration service is told not to let him leave the country.
August 27: An unknown person calls the New Zealand embassy in Bangkok and tells them he has heard Ringvall will try to abscond while on bail and is worried he will "get away with it". The embassy tells the person to contact police and makes its own inquiries, but finds out little.
October 28: For an unknown reason. Ringvall is granted permission by the Pattaya Court to leave Thailand for two weeks. He flies to Sweden and fails to return.
November 19: The New Zealand embassy formally asks the courts for information, but finds out little.
December 14: A warrant is issued in Thailand for Ringvall's arrest and his bail guarantor is fined.
Late December: Hollick's mother, Anne, hears from a friend of her son that Ringvall has fled Thailand.
June: After repeated inquiries by The Dominion Post to Thai and Swedish authorities, Thai Interpol decides to request the extradition of Ringvall from Sweden, or that he be tried for murder in his homeland.
- The Dominion Post