Elizabeth Zhong was reported missing from her Auckland home on Friday. Photo / Provided
Elizabeth (Ying) Zhong is a grandmother who has been looking forward to living her life with her new partner, a friend told the Herald.
A body believed to belong to a 55-year-old businesswoman who was reported missing from East Manukau District was found yesterday afternoon.
A source told the Herald that the body was lifted from a vehicle several streets away from his $ 2 million house in Sunnyhills, but police would not confirm this.
Police said the identification of the remains had not been confirmed, but the death was being treated as unexplained and an investigation was underway.
Detective Inspector Shaun Vickers said a post-mortem would be carried out today and the police would provide further information whenever possible.
In his prime, Zhong was a sponsor of projects and festivals – including the 2017 Asia Pacific Film festival.
“I was very surprised to hear the news that he was leaving,” said the friend, who requested anonymity.
“The last time we met, he introduced me to his new partner and we also talked about his daughter and grandson in Wellington, and he is looking forward to living his new life.”
Zhong came to New Zealand with her ex-husband and daughter in 1997. Her daughter now works at the Ministry of Finance in Wellington.
She separated from her husband in 2017, and has a new partner, a property developer.
Her friend, who is also a business partner, described her as a “smart businesswoman” and respected by many in the film industry.
The Herald understands that Zhong was also a close associate of the late Jihong Lu, and had had talks with controversial theater promoters at an early stage about being part of the failed production of City of 100 Lovers.
Zhong is also actively working with investors from China, and hosts visiting delegations – such as one from Shanxi who came in 2018 – to his vineyard.
Zhong is a businesswoman with many company director positions. She was reported missing from her Sunnyhills home and was last seen on Friday afternoon.
Last night several police cars were seen outside his house after his body was found.
Her ex-husband Frank Fu declined to comment when contacted by the Herald this morning.
Zhong has had health problems recently, and is the sole owner and director of the two winemaking companies who are now recipients – Kennedy Point Vineyard on Waiheke Island and Carrick’s wine in Central Otago.
He is also the sole owner and director of the film production company Digital Post Ltd, Digipost Entertainment and related companies.
Digipost offers animation and computer graphics, film post-production, sound mixing and visual effects.
Credits that have been engaged by the company include Mosely, Ash versus Evil Dad, Mt Zion, Spartacus, Love Birds, and 30 Days of Night.
Its website states: “Digipost is New Zealand’s most experienced visual effects and post production company dedicated to realizing the creative endeavors of our clients, providing the highest quality service to the film, advertising and television industries.”
In 2018, Variety reported that Zhong and Digipost were part of a “three-way development and finance deal” with Tim White’s Southern Light Films and Super Entertainment for a live-action fantasy film CGI Shelved worth up to $ 56 million.
Variety reports the film is about “two lazy robots restless about being replaced by humans.” The film, which involves NZ-born Shrek director Andrew Adamson, will be a New Zealand-China co-production.
• The police continued to request information on Mr. Zhong’s death. People are asked to call 105, citing file number 201128/1909, or Polres Manukau on 09 2611 321 if they have further information.