S.Korea police arrest woman over dead children in suitcases in New Zealand
Published: Sep 15, 2022 09:37 PM
South Korean police said on Thursday they have arrested a woman accused of murdering her two children, whose remains were found in suitcases in New Zealand in August.

The 42-year-old - reportedly a South Korean-born New Zealand national - was arrested in the southeastern city of Ulsan and will be transferred to the capital Seoul to face extradition proceedings, police said.

"Police arrested the suspect at an apartment in Ulsan on Thursday following a stakeout with tips on her whereabouts and CCTV footage," South ­Korea's National Police Agency said in a statement.

"The suspect is accused by the New Zealand police of having murdered her two children - aged 7 and 10 at the time - 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.

Images in local media showed the woman, who has not been identified by police in South Korea or New Zealand, being led out of the Ulsan police station by plainclothed investigators, covering her head with a large brown coat.

The woman, who was wearing ripped jeans and sandals, was asked by local media whether she would confess to the killings.

"I didn't do it," the woman said repeatedly, as she was led away and put into a police vehicle.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said she started living in an acquaintance's apartment in Ulsan in 2022, having earlier stayed in Seoul.

"Police plan to transfer the woman to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office in preparation for an extradition screening by the Seoul High Court," Yonhap said.

The remains of the two children were discovered in August after an unsuspecting family bought a trailer-load of items - including the suitcases - at an auction for abandoned goods near Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city.

New Zealand police have said the bodies were likely to have been in storage for several years, which has complicated the investigation.

Authorities have repeatedly stressed that the family who found the bodies were not connected to the homicide, and were being given support to help deal with the trauma.

Detective Inspector Tofilau Fa'ama-nuia Vaaelua in Auckland said on Thursday that the case was "a very challenging investigation."