Seoul, South Korea (AFP) – A South Korean woman was arrested Thursday on two counts of murder from New Zealand, where the bodies are Last month, authorities said, two long-dead children were found in abandoned suitcases.
Authorities did not immediately say whether the 42-year-old suspect was the mother of the dead children. The New Zealand police had informed their counterpart in South Korea earlier That the mother may live in South Korea.
South Korean police said they detained the woman in the southeastern port city of Ulsan based on a South Korean court note issued after New Zealand requested her extradition.
The unidentified woman covered her face with her coat as officers escorted her out of Ulsan Police Station and put her in a car bound for the capital, Seoul.
Park Seung-hoon, an official with the National Police Agency, said she will be subject to a review at the Seoul High Court as to whether she should be extradited. Park said the date has yet to be set but that the review should take place within two months.
New Zealand police said the warrant relates to two counts of murder, and they have applied for the woman to be extradited under the terms of a treaty between the two countries. They said they have asked the South Korean authorities to keep the woman in prison until she is extradited.
“The detention of a person abroad during such a short period is due to the assistance of the Korean authorities and the coordination of our staff at the New Zealand Police Interpol,” Detective Inspector Tufelaw Famanuya Valois said in a statement.
He said the investigation had been “extremely difficult” and that investigations were continuing in New Zealand and abroad.
Valois said police would not make further comments because the matter is now before the courts. New Zealand authorities usually do not comment on pending court cases in order to avoid the possibility of affecting the outcome.
The bodies were discovered last month after a New Zealand family bought abandoned goods, including two suitcases, from an Auckland storage unit in an online auction. Police said the New Zealand family had nothing to do with the deaths.
The children were between 5 and 10 years old, had died several years ago, and the bags had been in storage for at least three or four years, according to police.
South Korean police say the woman was born in South Korea and then moved to New Zealand, where she was granted citizenship. She returned to South Korea in 2018, according to immigration records.
South Korean police said they suspected she might be the mother of the two victims, as her previous address in New Zealand was registered in the storage unit where suitcases were kept for years.
Perry reports from Wellington, New Zealand.
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