The ex-wife of a man buried near the Desert Rd has told a murder trial her former husband ran off with another woman and sent $10,000 to stop family looking for him.
Bao Chang "Ricky" Wang was killed in Auckland and his body dumped 370km away. Zhicheng Gu and Jianqi Zhao have pleaded not guilty to Wang's murder.
The High Court at Auckland heard Susan Zhu and Wang had met years earlier at SkyCity, where both worked.
Zhu told the murder trial her ex-husband was a healthy, 182cm tall man who'd played rugby in high school.
But she said his secretive behaviour in later years caused fractures in the marriage and when he left her, Zhu and her two children wondered where he went.
Zhu told the court a man named Tony Piao once came to visit, handing over $10,000 and telling her the money was from Ricky Wang.
Zhu said Piao told her Wang had "run away with his girlfriend and he doesn't plan to come back again".
The court has heard Piao was later the person who called police from Waikeria prison and told them Wang had been killed in Auckland and buried near the Desert Rd.
Zhu was asked about Wang's admission to doing drugs and seeing prostitutes.
"Those things came up when we were fighting. Both of us were very angry so I'm not sure the words in that moment can count."
She suggested Wang had once accused her of being materialistic.
"He said: 'How did I get to marry you, a person who cares so much about money?'"
The Crown claims Wang wandered into a quagmire of drug-taking, gambling and frequenting prostitutes before he crossed a local crime boss.
Prosecutors say Zhao - also known as Uncle Six, Brother Six, and Leo - was that crime boss, and he was displeased with Wang over a real or attempted betrayal.
The Crown says Zhao was the most influential leader in a group of Chinese migrants who made and sold meth to fund lavish lifestyles.
Defence lawyers say the Crown case is based on claims from an underworld denizen of dubious reputation linked to brothels and drug dealing.
They say that person is Tony Piao, who called police from Waikeria Prison and claimed to have detailed knowledge of Wang's killing and burial.
After his death, Wang's apartment presented a ghostly sight to a property agent who investigated when rent stopped being paid.
Property manager Cherie Lamb said in the early days of Wang's $850 a week tenancy, no problems arose at the property.
The court heard Wang moved into a Symonds St flat after leaving his wife.
"It was signed up for a year but unfortunately it didn't last the year," Lamb said.
Rent payments stopped completely in September 2017 and Lamb went to visit.
She told jurors the locks had been changed, but when she was able to enter later, the place was largely deserted.
The flat was untidy, uninhabited and only a few pieces of rubbish, some cutlery and food were inside.
"The switches had all been taken off the walls, the venting had been taken down, I understand the property had been repainted and recarpeted too."
She said the apartment owners were unhappy with her property agency about the rent payments stopping.
The trial before Justice Graham Lang and the jury continues.