A Korean-born New Zealand resident wanted for questioning about the murder of a prostitute in Shanghai is waiting to see if he will be freed pending an extradition hearing.
Kyung Yup Kim, 35, has been in custody for 15 months since a judge granted a request for a warrant to be issued for his arrest. It is alleged Kim was in Shanghai in December 2009 when prostitute Peiyun Chen was killed.
In October 2010, he returned to New Zealand, where he has lived since he was 14 and has permanent residence. So far, the hearing to decide if he is eligible for extradition has not been held, but his lawyer is trying to get him released from Mt Eden prison in the meantime.
In the Court of Appeal yesterday Tony Ellis, who was not Kim's lawyer for the first year of his custody, was asked why the extradition hearing had been repeatedly delayed and time spent instead on trying to get him released and a civil proceeding to review what had happened so far.
Mr Ellis said he had not received information needed for either of the other hearings to proceed. The review proceeding would also be able to raise wider issues not open in the other two. He was also working without payment so far, because legal aid had been granted, but no sum approved.
Fundamental issues remained about the process followed in Shanghai to request Kim's extradition, if he was wanted for questioning or to be charged, and if an assurance was reliable that the death penalty would not apply to Kim.
The Crown's lawyer, Austin Power, said Kim was being held under a valid warrant. If a District Court judge decided Kim was eligible to be extradited then it would be for the justice minister to decide if he would be surrendered to Chinese authorities.
The court reserved its decision.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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