Clendon Park case: Arrested woman taken to Seoul for extradition hearing

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Police and forensic personnel outside the property where the bodies were discovered.
Photo: RNZ / Rayssa Almeida

New Zealand police are seeking the extradition of a woman to Korea over the deaths of two children, whose bodies were found in suitcases in Auckland last month.

The children’s remains were discovered by an Auckland family in Clendon Park, who had purchased the contents of an abandoned storage locker.

The Korean National Police’s Interpol bureau told RNZ that the 42-year-old woman was apprehended from an apartment in the city of Ulsan early this morning and faces two murder charges.

The arrest warrant was issued by South Korean justice following a request by the New Zealand police, under the extradition treaty between the two countries.

Deputy Inspector Suh Joon of the office confirmed that the woman was a New Zealand national with no Korean nationality.

Inspector Suh said the woman is currently being held in Ulsan, but will soon be transferred to the Seoul Central District Prosecutor’s Office, where she will face an extradition hearing.

Suh said they could not comment on his condition at the time of his arrest.

Earlier in the day, Manukau Counties CIB Detective Inspector Tofilau Fa’ amanuia Vaaelua said an arrest warrant had been issued by the Korean courts following a request from the neo police. -Zealand under the extradition treaty between New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

He said New Zealand police had requested her extradition to New Zealand to face the charges and requested that she remain in custody pending the completion of the extradition process.

Law professor Dr Neil Boister earlier told RNZ noon report the extradition process should not encounter too many obstacles as the offense is not political, but adds that there could be some exceptions such as health and citizenship requirements.

“Whether she is able to argue that she cannot be extradited … on humanitarian grounds, there is an exception for that in the extradition treaty,” he said.

Furthermore, he said Korean authorities do not need to give a reason to deny an individual’s extradition if they are a Korean citizen.

Dr Boister said it was expected that the Korean court would assess any extradition request and that the women would be able to seek legal assistance and raise objections.

He said once the extradition order is issued by the Korean court, it will take 45 days before she has to leave the country.

The Interpol office in Seoul was unable to confirm whether the woman was still represented by a lawyer.

Human rights lawyer Tony Ellis said it would be much easier to extradite the woman given that she did not have South Korean citizenship. Some countries would not extradite their own citizens, he said.

But it was hard to say how long the process might take because it largely depended on how the woman reacted to the arrest, Ellis said.

“I guess it all depends on how much money you have and can you afford to fight him, in Korea, or are you going to save the money to fight him in New Zealand, or are you just going to confess. “

Meanwhile, Manurewa-Papakura Ward Councilor Daniel Newman said the community was shocked by the incident last month and welcomed news of the arrest.

“I hope the stories of the children who died will be told, those responsible will be held accountable, and the wider community will be given the necessary closure in this matter,” he said.

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