A 25-year-old Malaysian ‘student’ was caught by the Norwegian police intelligence agency for allegedly ‘spying’ on the Minister’s office in Oslo.
You’ve probably seen the headlines everywhere by now: Malaysian student arrested in Norway for espionage.
Malaysian. Espionage. Norway.
Feels like the premise of a Netflix show, huh?
Anyway, what we know so far is that a man was indeed arrested in Norway on suspicion of espionage, according to AP.
Who is he?
The only information that has been released so far is that this person is:
A “student” who is not enrolled anywhere in Norway
Living in Norway for a “relatively short time”
So what happened?
According to Norwegian media, the man’s arrest order said he was allegedly caught conducting illegal signal surveillance in a rental car near the Norwegian prime minister’s office and the defence ministry.
Security officers don’t believe he was working alone.
They also seized a few data-carrying electronic devices.
He was then charged by Norway’s police intelligence agency with spying on the Office of the Prime Minister, the defence ministry and other government offices in Oslo.
They suspected him of driving around or parking near these places in a rental car and tried to tap into their electronic communications.
What happens now?
Investigations into the man’s activities are ongoing and the court has ordered for him to be held in custody for at least four weeks.
To make matters even more interesting, he is to be kept in isolation for the first two weeks.
State prosecutor Thomas Fredrik Blom told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that they were not sure what they were up against and the isolation was necessary as they feared evidence tampering.
“There’s such danger of tampering with evidence that we’re being very careful with what we can reveal right now,” Blom was quoted as saying.
How did he get caught?
Last Friday night, surveillance cameras picked up the movements of his rental car outside the government building.
Apparently, the car had been captured a few times within a certain time period.
Authorities are concerned he is a flight risk as Malaysia shares no extradition ties with Norway.
Did Malaysia send a spy?
Even Norwegian authorities do not believe that Malaysia is involved in this case. They suggest he was holding “a passport of convenience”.
Who is this guy?
Norway has not disclosed his identity but his lawyer told NRK that her client “was too shook up” as he described the ordeal as a “dramatic arrest”.
Malaysia Is Aware
Wisma Putra through the Malaysian Embassy in Stockholm confirmed the arrest of a Malaysian in Norway for alleged spy activities.
In a statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the embassy in Stockholm was in close communication with the local authorities in Oslo to obtain further information on the matter.