Man wanted in New Zealand for murder

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Man wanted in New Zealand for murder

Korea’s Ministry of Justice requested the New Zealand Justice Ministry to detain a 35-year-old Korean man surnamed Kim for possible extradition to Korea, since he allegedly killed three relatives here.

“We have requested the New Zealand authorities to hold Kim,” said a spokesperson of Korea’s Justice Ministry on Monday. “This is a serious case and we will try our best to have him extradited to Korea as soon as possible.”

Kim, who has permanent residency in New Zealand, was arrested Sunday by local authorities in Auckland for a charge on theft committed there in 2015. He is alleged to have stolen some $4,100 worth of goods, including a refrigerator, washing machine and microwave. The local court in Auckland held its first hearing on Kim on Monday.

Kim allegedly stabbed to death his 55-year-old mother and 15-year-old stepbrother in their Yongin, Gyeonggi apartment on Oct. 21. On the same day, he allegedly stabbed to death his 57-year-old stepfather at a rest area in Pyeongchang County, Gangwon.

He then flew to New Zealand with his wife, their infant and toddler on Oct. 23.

The murder was disclosed on Oct. 25, when the younger sister of Kim’s mother called the authorities after she was unable to reach her sister for days. Authorities found the body of Kim’s stepfather on Oct. 26 in the trunk of Kim’s car, parked outside a condominium in Gangwon.

The dead 15-year-old boy was the son of Kim’s stepfather and mother.

Kim was caught on CCTV footage as he walked into his mother’s apartment in Yongin around noon on Oct. 21 and came out around 5 p.m.

Kim’s stepfather is alleged to have gone missing from Oct. 21. One employee of the stepfather’s pub reportedly told authorities that Kim picked up his stepfather’s cellphone on Oct. 22.

Korean authorities are investigating Kim’s possible motive behind the alleged murders, including financial reasons, because police say Kim was reportedly financially supported by his mother and stepfather for the past 15 years.

Korean authorities are debating whether to cancel Kim’s passport to force his expulsion from New Zealand or to request extradition by way of the bilateral extradition treaty.

Korea and New Zealand signed an extradition treaty in 2002 in which “each Party agrees to extradite to the other ... any person who is wanted for prosecution, trial, or the imposition or enforcement of a sentence in the Requesting Party for an extraditable offence” which includes “offences which are punishable under the laws of both Parties by deprivation of liberty for a period of at least one year or by a more severe penalty.”

“If the Korean government requests extradition of Kim, the speed with which Kim may be extradited will depend on the laws of New Zealand and how its government operates,” said a police officer. “Remember that it took some three years before Yoo Seom-na was extradited and it took a while before Choi Soon-sil’s daughter was extradited.”

Yoo, the eldest daughter of Yoo Byung-eun, the late patriarch of the family behind the operator of the doomed Sewol ferry, was arrested in France in 2014 and extradited to Korea in July this year.

Choi Soon-sil is the woman at the center of the corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye. Her daughter was extradited from Denmark in March, after she was arrested there in January.

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