An Auckland businesswoman who is believed murdered had actively sought investor migrants from China.
Tuariki Delamere, a former immigration minister who is now a licensed immigration adviser, said he worked with Elizabeth Ying Zhong and conducted several investor seminars in 2001 and 2002, held mainly in Guangzhou.
Attendees were told of investment opportunities in New Zealand, and they were also aimed at signing up people interested in gaining residency through the investor migrant pathways.
Delamere said the co-operation ceased due to differences in views.
Financial backers believed to be from mainland China are thought to be behind millions of dollars poured into the purchase of Zhong’s film company Digipost.
However, an Immigration New Zealand spokeswoman said the agency had not granted any visas to individuals linked to this company.
Zhong, 55, was reported missing on Saturday before police made a grim discovery the next day. It is believed her body was found in her car boot about 500m from her Suzetta Place, Sunnyhills, home.
Delamere said he found Zhong to be very engaging, friendly and entrepreneurial, but had not been involved with any of her businesses or projects post 2010.
Auckland accountant Matthew Bellingham, who never met Zhong but dealt with her accountant and lawyer, said a significant amount – which he would not disclose – appeared to have been paid into the purchase of Digipost from overseas backers in China or Hong Kong.
Bellingham said there was hardly any due diligence done on the purchase and that no one had really seemed to care too much about the business.
Digipost was founded 30 years ago and was a key player in Auckland’s film industry.
Detective Inspector Shaun Vickers of Counties Manukau Police said the homicide investigation into Zhong’s death was continuing.
“The 55-year-old was located deceased inside her vehicle on Roadley Ave, Sunnyhills,” Vickers said.
“Police are still in the early stages of our investigation and have a significant number of enquiries to make.”
Vickers said a detailed scene examination at the Sunnyhills address was not expected to be completed until the end of the week.
Although formal identification of the body was still ongoing, Vickers said police believed the woman to be Zhong.
“We are continuing to speak with a number of people known to Ms Zhong as we work to piece together the events leading up to her death,” he said.
Police continue to ask anyone that may have information to contact 105 and quote the file number 201128/1909. Information can also be provided anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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