A Korean-born New Zealander wanted in China over the murder of a prostitute has lost his case against extradition - despite claims he could face torture or the death penalty.

Chinese officials have accused Kyung Yup Kim of murdering Peiyun Chen while on holiday in Shanghai in 2009.

The 20-year-old sex worker's beaten and strangled body was found dumped in wasteland, but Kim had left for South Korea before officials sought him for questioning.

He was arrested in New Zealand in 2011 and spent five years in a New Zealand jail, without trial, before being released on bail last year.

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Justice Minister Amy Adams agreed to send Kim to China to face trial over the murder, after Chinese officials promised he would not be tortured or executed and that his fundamental rights - such as the right to remain silent - would be protected.

But Kim successfully challenged that decision by judicial review, and Justice Jillian Mallon found Adams had been too willing to take Chinese officials at their word.

Kim argued the minister did not fully understand how China's legal system worked. He said pre-trial torture was common and promises he would not face the death penalty could not be trusted.

Amnesty International backed his claims, saying people in China are treated as guilty until proven innocent and, if convicted, face forced labour and prolonged torture.

A judge has upheld Justice Minister Amy Adams' decision to extradite Kyung Yup Kim to China where he faces murder charges. Photo/NZHerald
A judge has upheld Justice Minister Amy Adams' decision to extradite Kyung Yup Kim to China where he faces murder charges. Photo/NZHerald

Justice Mallon agreed, saying there were "substantial grounds for believing torture remained a real issue in China".

She ordered the minister to seek more information and reconsider her decision. Adams last year again decided to have Kim extradited, and he again called for a judicial review.

But in a decision released today, Kim's appeal for a judicial review has been dismissed. The judge said Adams had sought further information that had "comprehensively addressed" concerns over Kim's treatment.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has promised dedicated monitors in Shanghai will check on Kim at least once every 48 hours during the investigation, and at least once every 15 days during the trial.

China has also promised to provide full, unedited recordings of all interrogations with Kim within 48 hours of each interview.

It has also been made clear that if the death penalty was used there would be "repercussions for the bilateral relationship between China and New Zealand, and China's international reputation", Justice Mallon noted.