Nuku’alofa, Tonga – The police have arrested a 19 year old man from Ma’ufanga on Sunday, 17 May, following the death of Ned Cook.
Cook, 67 years old, based in New Zealand, was a trained drug counselor for the Salvation Army. He was known as one of Tonga’s best fighter against the tidal wave of illicit drugs (meth) causing real harm in the small Kingdom.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner, Tevita Vailea, in a police statement said, “An investigation is underway to determine the full circumstances of the man’s death.”
Just last year, Ned Cook told 1News he feared for his life during an interview.
Cook worked to rehabilitate Tonga’s heavily drug addicted population, as methamphetamine becomes a popular drug among the youth.
Cook, who was New Zealand based, and a trained counselor, went back to Tonga to tackle the kingdom’s meth crisis.
“Ned was a courageous hero, he went to Tonga, he went to the lion’s den knowing exactly what he was getting into,” Pakilau Manase Lua of the Aotearoa Tongan Health Workers Association says.
Arrangements have been made to return Cook home to New Zealand on Thursday for his funeral.
He used his own savings and risked his life to bring awareness and hope to the meth crisis, and died a hero in service to his country, Tonga
Police will make any new information available.