Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Auckland Chinese restaurant owner jailed for evading $800,000 tax

The owner of an Auckland Chinese restaurant serving sharkfin dishes has been sentenced to jail for evading nearly $800,000 in tax. File photo
The owner of an Auckland Chinese restaurant serving sharkfin dishes has been sentenced to jail for evading nearly $800,000 in tax. File photo

Correction and apology

An earlier version of this article stated that Zai Jian Lian was still the owner of Tasty Zone Restaurant.

In fact, Liang ceased running the business in September last year and the restaurant is now under the new ownership of New Tasty Zone Limited.

The new operators have no relationship with Liang, according to their lawyer Mark Lee.

They also were not involved or linked to the 113 incorrect tax returns filed between 2009 and last year.

The Herald regrets the error and apologises to the new operators.


The former owner of an Auckland Chinese restaurant serving sharkfin dishes has been sentenced to jail for evading nearly $800,000 in tax.

Restaurateur Zai Jian Liang, who ran Tasty Zone Restaurant in East Tamaki, filed 113 incorrect tax returns between 2009 and last year.

An Inland Revenue investigation found Liang and his wife Guan Hong Liang failed to declare more than $1 million in cash sales and about $500,000 in PAYE.

The couple also fraudulently claimed $30,000 in Working for Families tax credits.
For evading $787,996 in tax, Liang was sentenced yesterday to three years and two months in jail.

Investigations and Advice Group manager Tony Morris said the Liangs showed a complete disregard of their tax obligations.

"This is right up there with the most blatant cases we have seen," Morris said.

"This couple have actively hidden significant amounts of cash sales and employee wages from Tasty Zone's tax returns.

"We found a litany of irregularities when going through their bank accounts, proving they were using undeclared cash from the restaurant to pay for everyday expenses as well as overseas trips."

The couple kept a record of their employees' wages in a little red notebook, and kept their accountant in the dark about their shady practices.

Investigators found the notebook during a search of their home and the restaurant on Torrens Rd.

Major discrepancies were discovered between the declared pay and actual earnings when its contents were compared to the official PAYE returns the couple filed.

Guan Hong Liang was convicted and discharged in the Manukau District Court on lesser knowledge offences.

No reparation order was made as the couple were being bankrupted.

"New Zealanders need to know that we will track down people like the Liangs and hold them to account," Morris said.

"We won't let them get away with ripping off honest, law-abiding taxpayers."

Specials on Tasty Zone's menu include shark's fin with vegetables, peking duck and shark's fin with bamboo pith soup.

The restaurant is now under new ownership and has no relationship with Liang.

- NZ Herald

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