Qiong Yan alleged victim as Yang Zhao to be charged with murder

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A foreign national will be taken to Queensland and charged with the murder of a woman, after her decomposing body was found stuffed in a box on a Brisbane balcony.

Yang Zhao, 26, is accused of murdering Qiong Yan sometime between October 2020 and May this year.

Mr Zhao on Wednesday faced Sutherland Local Court, where Queensland Police made an extradition request to bring him to Brisbane.

A NSW courts spokesman said the order was granted by magistrate Michael Barko.

Mr Zhao will now appear at Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday.

Ms Yan’s “significantly decomposed” body was found in a box on a riverside Brisbane apartment balcony on Tuesday.

She went missing from Sydney three months ago.

Distinctive jewellery found on the body was positively identified by family in China as belonging to Qiong Yan, detectives said.

On Monday afternoon, Queensland Police executed a search warrant at a unit at Parkside Court, Hamilton, for information relating to the disappearance of the 30-year-old woman.

Police found the body – which was wrapped in cloth inside an “Esky-size” box on the balcony – at the same time their NSW counterparts were at Mr Zhao’s residence in Sydney to seek further information into Ms Yan’s disappearance.

Police will allege in court that Ms Yan was murdered by Mr Zhao, who was her flatmate, and her body was left to decompose for weeks or “potentially months”.

Police said on Tuesday the body was “so badly decomposed” that initially detectives could not even determine whether it was a man or woman.

The post-mortem, carried out on Tuesday, has established the body is that of “a female of Asian ethnicity”.

“Positive, legal confirmation of the identity of the female may be days or weeks away; however, distinctive jewellery located on the body has been positively identified by the family as belonging to Ms Yan,” a Queensland Police statement said.

“Police have spoken to Ms Yan’s mother.”

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