A 41-year-old guest at Oslo’s Clarion Hotel Royal Christiania near the city’s central train station took a hotel employee hostage on Monday and threatened to detonate a bomb unless he received a million euros in small bills. The demand set off a hostage drama that went on, quietly at first, for five hours.
It began around 10am when the guest, a man from eastern Europe who had checked into the hotel on December 3, took a hotel worker believed to have worked in cleaning services hostage. He then passed on his bomb threat in the form of a note sent to room service.
Johan Fredriksen of the Oslo Police District said the hostage-taker claimed a bomb had been placed somewhere in Oslo, “but after good negotiations with the man, we realized that could hardly be true.” Police nonetheless conducted a partial evacuation of the hotel, which is located at a busy intersection downtown.
The police mobilized a large troop to deal with the hostage situation including “dialogue experts” who fielded the man’s demands for both the million euros and a getaway car. They said he did not appear intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.
“The man seemed rational,” Fredriksen told reporters at a later afternoon press conference. “There is nothing pointing in the direction of psychiatry.”
The hostage, meanwhile, was not identified but was said to be a foreign worker with no family in Norway who apparently was chosen at random by the 41-year-old hotel guest. There was no relation between the hostage and the hostage-taker.
Fredriksen said that police negotiated with the man for several hours before they managed “to resolve the situation with no further drama.” Fredriksen said the man gave himself up voluntarily and came out of his room. His hostage was not injured. Police later found an electronic shock weapon and a knife, though, in the man’s room.
Police stressed that the hostage situation was in no way related to this week’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo.