One of a group of men accused of being involved in killing Ricky Wang and burying his body in a shallow grave near the Desert Rd has pleaded not guilty.
The accused, who has interim name suppression, was the first of four people charged by police running Operation Quattro, an investigation into the disappearance and alleged murder of Bao Chang Wang, also known as Ricky.
The 29-year-old appeared this morning in the High Court at Auckland on a charge of accessory after the fact to murder.
His lawyer, David Jones QC, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf and along with Auckland's Crown Solicitor Brian Dickey asked Justice Sally Fitzgerald to continue the man's name suppression.
The judge granted the application and also suppressed the allegations of the case contained in the police's summary of facts.
The accused was remanded in custody and will next appear in court in July, while a trial date was scheduled for March next year.
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A second man has also been charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder.
The 37-year-old appeared in the Waitakere District Court last week and was granted name suppression. He is due to appear in court again next month.
His arrest came a day after two men, aged 28 and 33, were charged with murdering Wang, who has been missing since 2017. They both have name suppression and are due to appear in the High Court next week.
A tip-off in March led police to the grisly discovery of human remains buried on the side of Rangipo Intake Rd, which is off the Desert Rd near Tongariro.
The body, which police say "had been in place for a period of time", was exhumed and an autopsy confirmed the case was officially a homicide inquiry.
Although the remains are yet to be formally identified, police believe they belong to Wang.
Detective Inspector John Sutton earlier said in a statement that a dedicated team of detectives have been working on Operation Quattro and "expect that further arrests will be made over the course of the investigation".
Sutton said police were following a number of leads from information provided by the public.
The four arrests came nearly three weeks after police released a photograph of Wang, 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.
An examination of an Auckland apartment was also conducted over a two-week period in late April. It was the second Auckland property to be searched as part of the investigation.
• Anyone with information is asked by police to call 0508 RANGIPO (0508 726 447) or anonymously phone Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 – reference "Ricky Wang". Mandarin-speaking Police officers are available.