South Korea has initiated a court review to determine whether or not to extradite a 42-year-old woman charged with murder in New Zealand, where the bodies of two long-deceased children were discovered in abandoned suitcases in August.
After determining that there was “considerable reason” to believe that the suspect committed the crimes, the Justice Ministry of South Korea instructed prosecutors on Thursday to file an appeal with the Seoul High Court.
If the court rules in favor of her extradition, South Korean Minister of Justice Han Dong-hoon would make the final decision regarding her transfer to New Zealand.
Lee Ji-hyeong, an official from the ministry’s international crimes section, stated that prosecutors will likely request a review of the case this week and that the court will have two months to make a decision.
In September, the unidentified woman was arrested by South Korean police in a southern port city on the basis of a domestic court warrant issued after New Zealand requested her provisional arrest. The Justice Ministry of New Zealand then issued a formal request for her extradition to the ministry of South Korea.
New Zealand police stated that the South Korean arrest warrant for the suspect was issued in connection with two counts of murder, and that they have requested that the woman be detained until she is extradited.
The children’s bodies were discovered in August after a New Zealand family purchased abandoned items, including two suitcases, at an online auction from a storage unit. The family, according to the police, had nothing to do with the deaths.
According to police, the children were between 5 and 10 years old, had been deceased for years, and their suitcases had been stored in Auckland for at least three or four years.
The woman, according to South Korean police, was born in South Korea and later immigrated to New Zealand, where she obtained citizenship. In 2018, she returned to South Korea, according to immigration documents.
As her previous address in New Zealand was registered to the storage unit where the suitcases were kept, South Korean police believe she may be the mother of the two victims.