New Zealand ‘suitcase’ children murder case: Hakyung Lee is unmasked as the South Korean mother charged with killing her two children

New Zealand ‘suitcase’ children murder case: Hakyung Lee is unmasked as the South Korean mother charged with killing her two children

  • Hakyung Lee, 42, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder
  • Body of boy and girl found in suitcase in Auckland storage unit 
  • Believed to have been dead for years before they were discovered  

A mother accused of murdering her two children and stuffing their bodies in suitcases can be identified for the first time.

Hakyung Lee, 42, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder, after the bodies were found in suitcases in an abandoned storage unit in Auckland, New Zealand, last August.

The unit was auctioned off to a family who made the grisly discovery when they opened the unit up last year.

Ms Lee appeared in court in April where she insisted: ‘I didn’t do it, it’s the truth’.

Hakyung Lee (pictured), 42, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder, after the bodies were found in suitcases in an abandoned storage unit in Auckland, New Zealand, last August

The grisly discovery of the boy and girl, thought to be aged between five and 10 when they died four years before being found on August 11 in Auckland, has led to headlines around the world

The grisly discovery of the boy and girl, thought to be aged between five and 10 when they died four years before being found on August 11 in Auckland, has led to headlines around the world

A bid to suppress her name had previously been denied by the High Court, but the decision was appealed.

The Court of Appeal on Wednesday also upheld the decision, meaning her name can be published by media.

Ms Lee’s lawyer Chris Wilkinson-Smith had argued publication of her name would endanger her safety.

Justice Anne Hinton in her judgement noted there must be a ‘real and appreciable’ risk to the mother’s safety.

Ms Lee has been in custody since she was extradited from South Korea to New Zealand late last year after the horrifying discovery of her children’s remains

Ms Lee has been in custody since she was extradited from South Korea to New Zealand late last year after the horrifying discovery of her children’s remains

‘While it sounds harsh, that is the relevant test,’ she wrote. 

‘I have not been provided with evidence showing that [the defendant] would likely be severely affected by the publication of her name or that her safety would be endangered.’ 

At the time the suitcases were found, police said the children were aged between five and 10-years-old.

Their bodies are believed to have been stuffed in the suitcases for years before they were discovered.

Ms Lee has pleaded not guilty and is set to face trial in April 2024.  

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