A South Korean woman accused of murder in the deaths of two children whose remains were found in suitcases in New Zealand has agreed to be extradited, a court spokesman said Friday.
A court in Seoul on Friday approved the extradition of the 42-year-old woman – who has previously denied the charges – after she agreed to the transfer in writing, the spokesman told AFP.
South Korea’s Ministry of Justice will make a final decision on extradition to New Zealand soon, the spokesman said.
“I can confirm that the court has approved the extradition request… It will happen within the week after the Ministry of Justice approves it, which will happen because she has accepted the transfer,” the spokesman said, adding that the suspect “has consented to extradition in writing”.
South Korean police arrested the woman in the port city of Ulsan in September, weeks after New Zealand authorities discovered the remains of two children, believed to be between five and 10 years old when they died.
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Local media footage at the time showed the woman, who has not been identified by South Korean or New Zealand police, being led out of a police station in Ulsan by plainclothes investigators, her head covered with a large brown coat.
When asked by reporters if she would confess to the murders, the woman repeatedly said “I didn’t” as she was led into a police vehicle.
The bodies were discovered after an unsuspecting family bought a trailer load of items at an auction of abandoned property.
New Zealand police said the bodies had likely been stored for several years, complicating the investigation.
Authorities have repeatedly stressed that the family that found the bodies was not connected to the killings and was receiving support to cope with the trauma.
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After receiving a formal extradition request from New Zealand, South Korea’s Ministry of Justice said it would “make every effort” to proceed with the woman’s transfer “in accordance with the principles of the law.”
South Korean police said the woman was born in the country and later moved to New Zealand, before returning to South Korea in 2018.