Shocking details have emerged about the death of man whose body was found in a shallow grave covered in concrete near the Desert Rd years after he was last seen alive.

And it has been revealed that his friend helped to dispose of his body and keep the alleged murder a secret for years - telling the dead man's family he was overseas.

The court also heard that Yanlong Piao was so consumed with guilt that he eventually went to police and led them to the body of Bao Chang Wang - who for years was believed to have moved overseas and abandoned his family.

Piao, 37, was sentenced to 14 months in prison when he appeared in the High Court at Auckland this morning.

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He had earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of being an accessory to murder after the fact over the disappearance and death of Bao Chang Wang, also known as Ricky.

Yanlong Piao has been jailed for his part in the alleged murder of a man whose body was found in a shallow grave near the Desert Rd years after he was last seen alive. Photo / Sam Hurley
Yanlong Piao has been jailed for his part in the alleged murder of a man whose body was found in a shallow grave near the Desert Rd years after he was last seen alive. Photo / Sam Hurley

Piao can now be named after a suppression order keeping his identity secret lapsed.

A tip-off in March led police to the grisly discovery of human remains buried on the side of Rangipo Intake Rd, 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, code-named Operation Quattro.

Police believed the remains belonged to Wang, missing since 2017.

He was never reported missing.

Piao is the first involved with the alleged murder to be sentenced.

He appeared before Justice Pheroze Jagose this morning.

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The hearing started with Wang's ex wife's victim impact statement being read to the court by Crown prosecutor David Johnstone.

The mother of Wang's two children - a boy and a girl - said she was "very sad and heartbroken" about his death.

She described Wang as a man who was kind and had integrity.

He was "a good husband" and "could not contain his joy" when their first child was born,
carrying the baby around and taking on fatherhood duties easily.

"He was a great father and loved his children… he used to be our guardian and now he has left us."

She said her son left a voice message for his father several years back when the family had no idea where he was.

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"He said he has never forgotten his father and hoped he would visit him some day… his eyes were full of tears," the woman wrote.

"Our daughter is 5 years old this year - whenever the word dad is mentioned she felt strange and curious, she asks why other people have dads and not us.

"How unfair is this to the children.

"It was a huge blow and I have lost hope for the future…"

She told the court that Wang's death haunted her.

"I cannot imagine that such a brutal person would kill him and the brutal death he endures, I cannot imagine Ricky's bitter plea for help before he was killed," she said.

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"Now we have lost a deeply loved person… now I have to raise two young children by myself."

The woman said she was financially limited since Wang's death.

She suffered depression and could not work.

"I am on medication to sustain my sanity."

She lived on a tight budget which meant her children could not participate in school activities or sport.

She said the strain on her now as a single mother with no support was unfair.
Johnstone told the court that "the root of" Wang's death and why his body was disposed of came down solely to organised crime.

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Piao's lawyer Scott McColgan the man was "essentially throwing himself on his sword" and wanted to make it right.

But he did not offend "willingly".

"He did what he was told because he feared for himself and he feared for his family," said McColgan.

"He could no longer live with the wrong that had been done to Mr Wang who was his friend, the guilt that he felt... and in an attempt to try and put right as far as he could given the circumstances what had occurred.

"Yes there was planning, yes it was considered, it was persistent in terms of trying to dispose of the body.

McColgan said after Wang was killed Piao was "summonsed" to an address by the accused murderer.

There he was told by the "principal offender", who was brandishing a pistol, that Wang was dead and he would be helping them dispose of the body.

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Piao was taken to the house where Wang was killed under "duress" by the pistol-wielding alleged offender.

"When he arrived at the address he walked into a scene that was to Mr Piao - and I suggest would be to each and every one of us - cognitively overwhelming in relation to what he found of his friend," said McColgan.

"Simply put, without him - without his unprovoked approach to law enforcement - we would probably not be here.

"Mr Wang's family would not be in a position to properly inter him, and other offenders associated with the actual murder would not be before the courts.

"He's the reason that we are here today."

Justice Jagose said without Piao coming forward Wang's body may never have been found.

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He said Wang was an only child and his father suffered a heart attack when he heard of the death.

The father had not told Wang's mother for fear it would seriously impact her frail health.

Justice Jagose said Piao moved to New Zealand from China in 2002 when he was 20 to study.
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He worked in the building industry and owned massage parlours.

He loaned Wang $300,000 and when it was not paid back, his businesses suffered.

Piao married his high school girlfriend and the couple have two children who also live in Auckland.

He is already serving a sentence for drug offending and had he not confessed to his role in Wang's death he would have been eligible for parole in November.

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"You played an active role in the callous disposal of Mr Wang's body... itself a serious offence that requires denunciation and deterrence," said Justice Jagose.

"Your offending is aggravated by the inherent callousness... and cruel desecration by entombing [the body] in concrete at an isolated location."

Judge Jagose said Piao's offending had a degree of planning and premeditation given the body was taken so far from Auckland and the fact he worked so hard to convince Wang's family he had simply just left.

But given his confession and early guilty plea he was entitled to a significant discount.

Also, he said Piao provided "extensive assistance" to police which was a "tangible" display of remorse.

He sentenced Piao to a total of 14 months in prison - to be served cumulatively on his current sentence.

Two other men remain before the courts charged with murdering Wang, who has been missing since 2017.

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The pair, aged 28 and 33, have both pleaded not guilty and have been granted interim
name suppression.

A trial date has been set for July 2021.

A fourth man, a 29-year-old, has also been charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact.

He has pleaded not guilty and been remanded in custody awaiting his trial early next year.