South Korea asks Japan to extradite Chinese murder suspect

Seoul has asked Tokyo to extradite a Chinese man currently being detained in Japan, alleging he committed a murder in South Korea in 2002, officials of the Japanese judicial authority said Friday.

Justice Minister Chieko Noono has asked the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office to request the Tokyo High Court determine whether Cui Xuezhe, 27, can be handed over to South Korean authorities under a bilateral treaty on the transfer of criminals.

It is the first request from South Korea since the treaty was signed by both nations in April 2002.

The agreement requires the extradition of a suspect involved in a crime that is punishable with a minimum of one year in prison under the laws of both countries if a request is filed.

South Korea alleges Cui stabbed a man to death in Seoul on Feb. 3, 2002.

The high court is expected to study whether the allegations against Cui meet the conditions outlined in the treaty through consultations with the parties concerned.

Cui fled South Korea after the murder and secretly entered Japan.

He was arrested in August by Japanese police on suspicion of illegal entry and was given a suspended 18-month prison term on Oct. 27 by the Tokyo District Court. The court suspended the sentence but the public prosecutors office has been holding Cui at the Tokyo Detention House because South Korea demanded he be returned.