A Hamilton man whose body was discovered in the Waikato River on Sunday morning was a "well-liked and well-respected" man whose death has shocked Hamilton's hospitality industry.

Anthony Chanpraseuth's body was found in the river by a member of the public who was out for a walk just before 8am.

The 32-year-old is believed to have been in Hamilton CBD on Saturday night and police have requested CCTV footage from bars covering the time between 10.30pm and 2.30am.

His car was also parked on Victoria St and is understood to have been under surveillance yesterday.


Lawrenson Group chief executive John Lawrenson said Chanpraseuth's death had upset a lot of his current and former bar staff as he was the type of guy "who had your back" and who everyone liked.

"There's quite a lot of pretty shocked people."

Staff had spent today reflecting about what a good guy he was, Lawrenson said.

Lawrenson best knew Chanpraseuth from his time working as a doorman at Bar 101 about five years ago.

"He was a very friendly and popular doorman... He could handle himself."

Lawrenson said he was brave and would put himself between other staff to protect them.

Friends of the former bar worker were left wondering how he ended up in the Waikato River.

"It seems very weird."


Lawrenson last saw him a few weeks ago at The Bank bar with other former staff and said he was in good spirits.

Friends also took to Facebook to share memories, with one saying he "had a big heart".

Another friend described him as a "role model, an inspiration, best friend and a big brother".

"Taught me many valuable lessons in my life showed me the way to a happy positive successful life and how to overcome and conquer negative and downs. I will always treasure our best memories together and how amazing and caring you were to those in need of help and support," they wrote.

His body was found about 200m north of the Hamilton Rowing Club.