South Korean police on Thursday arrested a 42-year-old woman who was charged with the murder of her two children, whose bodies she allegedly disposed of in abandoned suitcases in New Zealand in 2018.
Authorities said that she was “hiding in an apartment” in the South Korean city of Ulsan. However, her identity has not been revealed by either New Zealand or South Korean police.
The two children who were allegedly murdered were a girl and a boy born in about 2009 and 2012, the local media reported.
The Korean police released a statement confirming the details of the arrest. “Police arrested the suspect at an apartment in Ulsan on Thursday following a stakeout with tips on her whereabouts and CCTV footage.”
Seoul’s National Police Agency said that the suspect is “accused by the New Zealand Police of having murdered two of her children, aged seven and 10 then, in around 2018 in the Auckland area.”
"She’s been found to have arrived in South Korea after the crime and has been in hiding ever since,” the statement said.
The suspect was arrested at about 1am Korean time in Ulsan. Yonhap News agency reported that while being transported to Seoul by police, the woman told reporters who had gathered outside “I didn’t do it.” Her head was covered and her face was not shown to the media.
The New Zealand Police also issued a statement which said that they had requested an arrest warrant for the woman under the country’s extradition treaty with South Korea and have applied to extradite her to New Zealand to face charges.
“To have someone in custody overseas within such a short period of time has all been down to the assistance of the Korean authorities and the coordination by our (New Zealand) Police Interpol staff,” Tofilau Fa’amanuia Vaaelua, New Zealand Detective Inspector said.
The woman will remain in custody while awaiting the completion of the extradition process, authorities said.
South Korean authorities confirmed last month that the suspect was born in South Korea and got her New Zealand citizenship a long time ago.
Now the Seoul High Court will decide within two months whether to extradite the woman to New Zealand, the NZ Herald reported.