Foreign national living in Sydney faces extradition after missing woman’s body found in box in Brisbane unit

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A foreign national living in Sydney is facing extradition to Queensland after a badly decomposed human body was found in a container in a inner Brisbane apartment.

Detective Inspector Tim Trezise said officers found the body wrapped in a sheet inside a sealed metal box on the balcony of the Hamilton unit, on Monday afternoon.

He said the detectives who found the corpse had been probing the disappearance of a 30-year-old Chinese national, Qiong Yan, who was reported missing in New South Wales on April 12.

Police believe the body is hers, based on distinctive jewellery on her body which has been identified as belonging to her by her family.

Her distraught mother has spoken to Queensland police from her home overseas.

Official confirmation of the identity is not expected for days.

Qiong Yan, 30, was reported missing in April. Credit: Queensland Police/Supplied
Chinese national, 26-year-old Zang Zhao, has been arrested in Sydney over the discovery of a woman’s body in a box in the Brisbane suburb of Hamilton.
Chinese national, 26-year-old Zang Zhao, has been arrested in Sydney over the discovery of a woman’s body in a box in the Brisbane suburb of Hamilton. Credit: 7NEWS

Yang Zhao, 26, who lives in south Sydney but is allegedly still renting the Brisbane apartment, was formally refused bail when his case was mentioned in Sutherland Local Court on Tuesday.

The matter is listed again for Wednesday, when he is facing extradition to Queensland where he will be charged over the woman’s death.

“An arrest warrant in Queensland has now been sworn in relation to one charge of murder in relation to the missing person,” Trezise said.

“Obviously investigations both forensically and evidentiary by the detectives will continue for some days and weeks in relation to strengthening the case.”

Queensland police forensics at the scene of where a body was discovered in a Hamilton apartment, in Brisbane.
Queensland police forensics at the scene of where a body was discovered in a Hamilton apartment, in Brisbane. Credit: Danny Casey/AAP

He said the body has not been identified yet because it’s too decomposed to work out gender or age.

“Exactly who that person is, is yet to be determined; by the end of the day we’ll have a post-mortem,” he told reporters.

Trezise said Yan had been seen at the Hamilton apartment about two months ago, along with the man.

Her mother, who lives in another country, reported her missing after she stopped making contact with her.

A general view of the scene of where the body was discovered in a Hamilton apartment in Brisbane.
A general view of the scene of where the body was discovered in a Hamilton apartment in Brisbane. Credit: Danny Casey/AAP

Trezise said Yan and the man who owned the apartment were not in a romantic relationship.

After months of trying to find the man, Queensland detectives finally managed to call him on Monday afternoon.

He told them he was living at Mascot in south Sydney and that he didn’t know where the woman was.

“Initially he indicated to police over the telephone that he didn’t know the whereabouts of the missing person, and hadn’t seen her for some months,” he said.

Grisly discovery

“I believe he stated words to the effect of: ‘I think she’s moved interstate’.”

Queensland police tipped off NSW detectives, who went to the man’s Mascot home, while they went to the Hamilton unit where they found the body.

Trezise said the body was wrapped in a cloth, with one foot visible.

“So I don’t know, I can’t report whether there’s any signs of trauma or anything else at this stage, the body was still in there, in the box, and the box has been taken in situ to the John Tonge Centre for the post-mortem.”

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