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Virus delays extradition of alleged body-in-box killer from Sydney

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Extraditing a man from locked-down Sydney is presenting challenges for police who are investigating a woman’s body found stuffed inside a metal box in Brisbane.

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NSW police arrested Yang Zhao, 26, on Monday on a Queensland warrant for the murder of fellow Chinese national Qiong Yan and his case was mentioned in Sutherland Local Court on Tuesday.

Bail was formally refused and the matter was adjourned, to be heard before the same court on Wednesday.

Detective Inspector Tim Trezise has acknowledged that Sydney’s coronavirus lockdown makes extraditing Zhao complicated.

But the Brisbane city watch house has a secure isolation cell where he can be held and he would be COVID tested beforehand, Trezise told reporters in Brisbane.

“It is my understanding that the police who accompany him will also have to go into 14 days’ isolation when they come back as well. Potentially that creates challenges for us,” he said.

The extraditing officers had been fully vaccinated and would work with their Sydney counterparts to ensure all health protocols are met.

Police have confirmed 30-year-old Ms Yan’s mother has identified jewellery found with the body, which was wrapped in a sheet inside the sealed box and left on the balcony of the unit in the inner suburb of Hamilton.

But police say formal forensic identification could take days or weeks, due to the body’s advanced state of decomposition.

They found the body on Monday as part of their investigation into the disappearance of Yan, who was reported missing to NSW police on April 12.

Zhao was arrested at his Sydney home and allegedly is still leasing the unit where the body was located.

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