28 Jul 2021

Wang murder trial: Man who helped move body lied to police

9:37 pm on 28 July 2021

A man imprisoned for helping to secretly dump Ricky Wang's body told police he didn't know of Wang's whereabouts, when in reality he'd seen him dead months earlier, a court has heard.

Bao Chang Wang - known as Ricky Wang - has been missing since 2017.

Ricky Wang Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

Wang went missing from Auckland in August 2017 and his body was found over two and half years later in March 2020, buried under a layer of concrete off Desert Road.

Police later charged two men with Ricky Wang's murder, Zhao Jianqi and Gu Zhicheng (known as Michael). The Crown has claimed Zhao was the leader of a gang and "ordered" Wang's death over missing methamphetamine. Both Zhao and Gu deny any involvement.

In the High Court at Auckland today, Detective Sergeant Roy Yu gave evidence. He was involved in a bust in which a man called Tony Piao was arrested on drug charges in January 2018. Piao was friends with Ricky Wang.

Piao is now a key Crown witness who was sentenced for drug offending, and admitted helping dispose of Wang's body. Yu Gaoxiang (Gordon) and Zhang Yuzhen also admitted to helping bury the body.

Detective Sergeant Yu said Piao spoke to him during an "off-the-record" chat while he was in custody following his drug arrest, during which he said he knew a man called Ricky. At this point Ricky Wang hadn't been seen since August, five months prior, when the Crown contended he was murdered and buried off the Desert Road. Police didn't know he was missing at the time.

"[Piao] says, according to the report I submitted at the time: Ricky... has been in the game for years. The last time I met him was about a few months ago. He told me he was on the run, and he didn't tell me who he was running from'."

The Crown contends Wang had already been buried by Piao. In his sentencing, Piao's lawyer admitted Piao had driven a van with Wang's body in the back from Auckland to the Desert Road, where he was buried. Piao said he was threatened with a gun.

Piao later admitted doing this and was sentenced to 14 months for helping dispose of Wang's body, on top of a four-year term for drug offending. He was given a reduced sentence as a result of his cooperation with authorities, giving other information, including the address of another clandestine methamphetamine laboratory.

The court had earlier heard Piao and Wang were friends, and Wang had stayed at Piao's family home after his marriage broke up. The Crown said Piao eventually told police Wang had been killed, and gave up his Google account details so police could use the GPS points his phone had visited in August 2020, from which they eventually located his body.

The defence for both argue Piao is a liar and cannot be relied to tell the truth.

The men deny any involvement in Wang's death.

Earlier in the day, another police officer said the Massey, West Auckland house they believed Wang was murdered in showed no evidence of blood whatsoever when it was forensically tested.

The Crown said Wang was beaten up and stabbed at the house, before his body was transported.

Detective Lee Bigelow said forensic luminol testing of the house showed no signs of any blood anywhere. They had lifted the floorboards to test underneath them after builders noted the floorboards looked as though they'd been relaid poorly.

This examination took place over two-and-a-half years after the Crown said Wang was killed there.

The trial continues.