The man accused of killing a South Korean exchange student, just weeks before he was due to return to his homeland, will remain behind bars.

The man accused of killing a South Korean exchange student will spend Christmas in jail.

Sanghyun Hwang sat quietly in the dock of the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday as he faced a charge of murder.

Dressed in brown prison clothing, Hwang turned his face away from reporters and looked down at his hands as a female interpreter stood by to relay proceedings to him.

Hwang is accused of murdering Min Tae Kim, whose body was found in a shallow grave on Thursday, a month before he planned to return home to South Korea.

The hearing lasted minutes.

Hwang was remanded in custody until January 20, when the case will return to court.

Police charged the 28-year-old with murder after Mr Kim’s body was found in a grave at a house at Algester in southwestern Brisbane.

Mr Kim, also 28, disappeared after he went to exchange $15,000 for South Korean money for his return home, which was planned for next month.

He had posted an ad on the Gumtree website seeking someone who could give him a good exchange rate.

He left his share house in Cannon Hill, east of Brisbane, with his cash to do a deal with an unknown person about 2pm (AEST) on Monday. His house mates never saw him again.

One house mate attended Friday’s hearing out of respect to Mr Kim, but said he did not wish to speak to the media.

Mr Kim had been planning to return to South Korea in a few weeks, after working hard to build a nest egg to take home.

Now his family will have to decide if, and how, to take his body home.

Mr Kim’s death comes after 22-year-old South Korean woman Eunji Ban was bashed to death while walking to work in Brisbane’s inner city last month.

A 19-year-old Spring Hill man has been charged with her murder.

Police have said the cases are not linked.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney offered the sympathies of the entire government to Mr Kim’s families and the South Korean community.

“Our government will do everything we can to support the family of the person involved in this particular incident, just as we did for the family of the person (Eunji Ban) who was involved in the previous incident,” he told reporters.

“We will be doing whatever we can to assist the family with the repatriation of the body and those sorts of things, to do as much as we can to help them with a situation that would be unbearable to any family.”