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US deports suspects wanted by South Korea

The United States has deported two South Korean women back to their home country, where they are wanted in separate cases of sex trafficking and fraud, US officials said Friday.

The two suspects, Kyung Hwa Choi, 39, and Sun Hee Kim, 42, were handed over in Seoul after being flown home on a commercial aircraft accompanied by officers from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, it said.

South Korea issued an arrest warrant for Choi in March 2008 and charged her with financial fraud, alleging that she and a partner duped investors out of around $8 million between 2000 and 2008.

She entered the United States on a tourist visa a month later, and was picked up last month, an ICE statement said.

Kim faces charges of sex trafficking in South Korea. She is accused of "buying" three Korean women for $20,000 in 2005 and forcing them to work as prostitutes in Los Angeles. She was arrested in August.

"Foreign criminal fugitives who seek to escape responsibility for their actions ... will find no sanctuary in Southern California," said Timothy Robbins of ICE's Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Los Angeles.

"As these two cases make clear, ICE is working closely with law enforcement agencies here and abroad to protect public safety and hold criminals accountable --- no matter where they commit their crimes," he added.

Since October 2009, the ERO has deported more than 500 foreign fugitives wanted in their native countries for serious crimes including kidnapping, rape and murder, ICE said.

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