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South Korea extradited a 42-year-old murder suspect to New Zealand, two months after he was arrested in possible connection to the bodies of two long-dead children found in abandoned suitcases in August.
South Korea’s Justice Ministry said on Tuesday that the unidentified woman was handed over to New Zealand authorities at Incheon International Airport near Seoul on Monday evening. The ministry said it had also provided New Zealand with unspecified “significant evidence” on the matter.
“With the extradition, we hope the truth of the case, which has attracted worldwide attention, will emerge through New Zealand’s fair and rigorous judicial process,” the ministry said in a statement.
South Korea’s Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon issued an order for the woman’s extradition earlier this month. The Seoul High Court had earlier approved his extradition after he had given his written consent to be sent back to New Zealand.
South Korean police arrested the woman in a southern port city in September, based on a domestic court warrant issued after New Zealand requested her provisional arrest. The New Zealand Ministry of Justice then submitted a formal request for his extradition to the South Korean Ministry.
New Zealand police said a South Korean warrant for the suspect’s arrest was in relation to two charges of murder. The children’s bodies were discovered in August after a New Zealand family bought discarded items, including two suitcases, from a storage unit at an online auction.
According to police, the children, aged between five and 10, had been dead for years and the suitcases had been in storage in Auckland for at least three or four years.
South Korean police say the woman was born in South Korea and later moved to New Zealand, where she obtained citizenship. Immigration records show she returned to South Korea in 2018.
South Korean police had said that it was suspected that she could be the mother of two of the victims, as her previous address in New Zealand was registered at the storage unit where the suitcases were kept.