Queenstown’s previously missing Swedish worker Christoffer Tornberg is heading home today.
It has emerged that Tornberg, a worker at local supermarket Fresh Choice, had gone into hiding after overstaying on his one-year working holiday visa, which expired on September 11.
Queenstown police had voiced concerns for his safety when friends and colleagues reported him missing on October 18 – after he hadn’t been seen for 12 days.
However, Queenstown cops say Tornberg, 23, presented himself at the local police station at lunchtime yesterday after prompting from the Swedish Consulate in Wellington.
Police believe Tornberg flew from Queenstown to Wellington yesterday, and he’s Sweden-bound today.
Constable Julian Cahill says Queenstown police hadn’t been too worried about Tornberg since October 27, when he was spotted around the resort by three separate people.
“It became apparent he was alive and well and just making himself scarce,” Cahill says.
“His visa ran out on September 11th and since that time he claims he’s been too embarrassed to confront the issue and he’s been trying to raise the money to get home, so that’s why he’s been hiding,” Cahill says.
Immigration issued Tornberg with a letter via police yesterday, stating he had to leave the country voluntarily before November 12 or a removal order – with an automatic five year ban attached – would be issued to him.
Police believe Tornberg’s parents have stumped up the funds to fly their son home.
Cahill estimates 10 man hours were spent trying to track Tornberg but no action is being taken against him.
“It was frustrating that he didn’t come to us early on and say he was alright but obviously he had his own reasons for that,” Cahill says.