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New Zealand: Arrests in Korean Man's Murder
Cold case from 2003 could see further arrests
Alan Wheatley (wheatelz)     Print Article 
Published 2008-06-26 11:02 (KST)   
New Zealand police have charged jointly two South Island men with the murder of Korean backpacker Jae Hyeon Kim, probably in late 2003.

The Nelson Mail reports police have jointly charged two men with the murder of the 25-year-old economics student. Shannon Brent Flewellen, a 28-year-old fisherman, was arrested at his Nelson home Tuesday morning. He appeared in Nelson District Court Tuesday afternoon and was remanded in custody to appear in the Westport District Court today (Thursday).

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Flewellen will be joined there by the second accused, a 31-year-old unemployed former Westport man, who did not appear on Tuesday. The second man's identity has not been revealed.

The officer heading the inquiry, Detective Inspector John Winter, told the Mail they cannot yet confirm if they are looking for Kim's body. Winter said police believe the Korean tourist was killed near the small town of Charleston, 27 kilometers southwest of Westport, on the South Island's remote West Coast. He said police were looking for any items that could be connected to the murder. He would not reveal how Kim died.

Winter also declined to comment to the paper whether either of the accused were connected to the neo-Nazi Fourth Reich racist gang, members of which were involved in the 1999 Westport murder of transient gay man, James Bambrough.

He told a Westport media conference Thursday that the lack of a body was not a barrier to police laying charges and the connection -- if any -- to the charges laid so far and police investigations at Charleston would become evident as the inquiry proceeded.

Winter told the Nelson Mail two anonymous letters about the case had been received by Westport police but had not led to the arrests.

He said the Korean consulate had been advised of Kim's death and they in turn had advised his family in Pusan. Arrangements were being discussed for a representative -- possibly Kim's brother -- to travel to New Zealand at a later stage. Winter told the paper Kim's parents felt unable to make the journey. He said the family was devastated as over the years they had always held out hope, only to have their worst fears confirmed.

The paper reports Kim -- traveling alone -- arrived in New Zealand in February 2003. He was reported missing by his family in May 2004, five months after he was supposed to have returned home. A police investigation at the time found nothing.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Alan Wheatley

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