The police have charged a man in connection to the death of a man buried in a shallow grave in a remote spot in the middle of the North Island.
A tip-off led police to a grisly discovery of human remains, believed to belong to a Chinese man missing since 2017, buried on the side of Rangipo Intake Rd, which comes off the Desert Rd near Tongariro.
The remains, which police say "had been in place for a period of time", were exhumed in March and a post-mortem examination confirmed the case was officially a homicide inquiry.
Although the remains are yet to be formally identified, police believe the murder victim is Bao Chang Wang, known as Ricky, who has been missing since 2017.
Wang is a Chinese National and New Zealand permanent resident. His family believed he had travelled overseas in 2017 and he was not reported as missing in New Zealand.
Police had been in contact with his family in New Zealand and in China to make sure he did not leave the country under a different identity.
Yesterday, nearly two months after the remains were found, police made their first arrest in the case.
A 29-year-old man has been charged with accessory after the fact to murder and will be appear this morning in the Waitakere District Court.
"The homicide investigation is ongoing and Police enquiries are continuing," said Detective Inspector John Sutton.
"Further arrests are expected to be made over the course of our investigation."
The arrest comes nearly two weeks after police released a photograph of Wang and revealed a second Auckland address had been thoroughly searched for evidence.
Updates on the progress of the homicide inquiry have been infrequent - although in late April, Sutton said police conducted a "scene examination" of an Auckland apartment over a two-week period.
"Police are following a number of leads as a result of information provided by the public," said Sutton.
The apartment is the second Auckland property to be searched as part of the investigation.
Earlier last month, the Herald revealed police and ESR scientists were combing a property in Massey, West Auckland, looking for evidence about the death.
"The address that is the subject of the scene examination was recently sold to a family [who] are not in any way connected to this investigation," said Sutton.
"They have been relocated by police for the duration of the scene examination and are being provided with the appropriate support and assistance."
Property advertisements show the four-bedroom house was sold in October last year.
• Anyone with information is asked to call 0508 RANGIPO (0508 726 447) or anonymously phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 – reference "Ricky Wang". Mandarin-speaking Police officers are available.
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