Elizabeth Zhong lawsuit: PI asked to follow businesswoman, used tracking device

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The man accused of murdering his former business partner has told a private detective he fears Elizabeth Zhong may disappear amid their legal proceedings over finances, a court has heard.

Elizabeth (Ying) Zhong’s body was found in the trunk of her car in Sunnyhills on November 28, 2020, after she was reported missing by her friend Wendy Wu.

At the time of his death, a number of Zhong’s businesses were in financial difficulty, and his business partner Fang Sun is on trial for murder in Auckland High Court. The Crown’s case is that he entered Zhong’s house with a knife and stabbed her repeatedly.

But the defense says Sun is not a killer and someone else is responsible for the businesswoman’s death.

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Sun and Zhong became business partners in 2014 and together invested around $28 million in several Kiwi businesses.

The pair then fell out and Sun claimed that Zhong owed him millions of dollars. At the time of his death, the couple were in the midst of civil legal proceedings.

Elizabeth Zhong, pictured with her dogs Queena and Ding Ding.

Provided

Elizabeth Zhong, pictured with her dogs Queena and Ding Ding.

In July 2020, Sun hired private detective Jimmy (Jun) Jin, a 20-year-old former police detective.

The pair connected via WeChat after Sun’s wife asked for help.

Jin was told that Zhong and Sun were in the middle of civil court proceedings and that he had to help serve court documents.

Sun told Jin that his business partner defrauded him of millions of dollars.

“I had many conversations with the defendant, and he repeatedly mentioned that Ms. Zhong had wasted his life,” Jin said.

Elizabeth Zhong owned Carrick Winery.

PROVIDED

Elizabeth Zhong owned Carrick Winery.

Sun was under pressure from investors in China, who had entrusted their money to him.

“But now all the money was in danger, which caused Chinese investors to constantly harass Mr. Sun,” Jin told the court.

Sun wanted to know Zhong’s whereabouts as legal proceedings were ongoing and his Sunnyhills home was set to be put up for sale by a mortgagee in August.

“Mr. Sun was afraid that Ms. Zhong would disappear from the address,” Jin said.

After Jin started watching Zhong, he spent a few hours each time watching her at her home in Sunnyhills from his Toyota Camry.

He could send photos and videos back to Sun, before deleting them to protect his client’s privacy.

Towards the end of July 2020, Jin suggested that Sun install a tracking device on Zhong’s car, saying he would take responsibility for it if found.

“Let’s make it clean and tidy and all the risks are on our side.

“Well, in case we find out something is wrong, there will be nothing on you,” Jin told Sun in an audio message via WeChat.

Jin put a tracking device on Zhong’s black Land Rover after he followed her to a Chinese supermarket in Mount Wellington.

“I placed the tracking device under the Land Rover,” Jin said.

The device was connected to his phone, so he could track whereabouts and movement history.

In September 2020, Jin received $15,000 – but it was paid into his brother’s account in China.

Fang Sun denies killing his former business partner.

LAWRENCE SMITH / Stuff

Fang Sun denies killing his former business partner.

Crown Prosecutor Gareth Kayes previously detailed a number of Sun and Zhong’s claims against each other in the civil proceedings in the Auckland High Court, which were pending at the time of Sun’s wife’s death. ‘business.

Sun claimed that Zhong misappropriated their company funds for personal gain.

Zhong, meanwhile, denied the allegations, saying Sun failed to pay $6 million under a loan deal and $9 million under a stock transfer deal.

The court also heard how Zhong visited SkyCity Casino 381 times between January 2017 and his death, and his account suffered a loss of $238,538.

The trial before Judge Neil Campbell and a jury continues.

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