Elizabeth Zhong homicide: Man charged with murder appears in Manukau court

The man accused of murdering Elizabeth Zhong has arrived in the dock at Manukau District Court.

He appeared shortly after 2:20pm.

A member of the public stood up in the courtroom gallery and gazed intently at the accused man as he appeared in the dock.

The matter was then stood down as Judge Chris Field waited for an interpreter.

Police revealed earlier today that a man had been arrested for the murder of the Auckland businesswoman.

The body of Zhong, 55, was found in the boot of her car near her Auckland home in late November last year in suburban Sunnyhills, East Auckland.

Detective Inspector Shaun Vickers said today: “We know the community expected police to get on with the investigation and bring about justice for Elizabeth.

“From the outset of this investigation, the team of detectives working on Operation Attina have worked diligently to bring about a result in this case.”

Vickers said he hoped the arrest would bring some reassurance to the community and to Zhong’s family.

Police initially issued an appeal for sightings of the missing woman.

They found her vehicle around the corner from her home about 11am on Saturday, November 28.

But it was revealed that officers did not open the boot of the vehicle until several hours later.

Part of the police investigation, early on, included reviewing CCTV footage from the street.

VIctim's humble beginnings

Zhong, who also went by the name Ying Zhong, moved to New Zealand from China in 1997 with her then young daughter and husband.

Friends said she lived in a then Housing NZ property before she amassed “significant wealth” according to her friends.

She had worked hard to become a successful businesswoman and had links to the film and wine industries.

However, she had been bankrupted about two weeks before her death.

Her home was estimated to be worth about $2 million.

She was also known to have been active in working with investors in China and hosting visiting delegations.

One such delegation made a trip to New Zealand in 2018 and she hosted them at one of the vineyards she owned.

Zhong was sole owner and director of at least two wine-making companies that had since gone into receivership – Kennedy Point Vineyard on Waiheke Island and Carrick Wines in Central Otago.

She was also the sole owner and director of film production company Digital Post Ltd, Digipost Entertainment and associated companies.

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