Two men have been charged with murder after police dug up the remains 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 an autopsy confirmed the case was officially a homicide inquiry.
Police have just revealed that two men have been charged with murder.
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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, two months after the remains were found, police arrested the two men and laid the two murder charges.
Detective Inspector John Sutton says these latest arrests are the result of a concerted effort by a dedicated team of detectives working on Operation Quattro.
"Our inquiries into Ricky Wang's murder are ongoing and we expect that further arrests will be made over the course of the investigation."
The murder charges against the two men come a week after a 29-year-old man was charged with accessory after the fact to murder and will be appear this morning in the Waitakere District Court.
The three arrests come nearly three 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.