Suitcase murders: South Korean court approves extradition of woman to New Zealand

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Seoul
CNN
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A court in South Korea has approved the extradition of a woman facing murder charges in New Zealand in connection with a case in which the remains of two dead children were found in abandoned suitcases.

The Seoul High Court told CNN Friday it had ruled that the woman could be extradited, but that no date for this had yet been set and that the final decision now lay with the Justice Ministry.

The woman, a 42-year-old who police believe to be the mother of the two children, was arrested in September in the southeastern city of Ulsan, weeks after the childrens’ remains were discovered in suitcases bought from a storage facility in New Zealand.

According to police, the woman was born in South Korea but moved to New Zealand “a long time ago” and gained citizenship before returning a few years ago.

She has denied the charges but agreed to be sent back to New Zealand, the Seoul High Court told CNN. New Zealand police have previously requested the woman be sent back under the two countries’ extradition treaty.

New Zealand police launched a homicide investigation in August after a family in South Auckland reported finding human remains in suitcases they bought in an online auction from a storage facility.

The children – likely to have been between ages 5 and 10 – may have been dead for around three to four years, according to New Zealand police.

At the time, police stressed the family who bought the suitcases were not under investigation.