Court orders reveal Auckland property owners involved with notorious slumlord on the brink of having their properties seized by Westpac

676 Mt Albert Road.

By Jenée Tibshraeny

A search is underway for the owners of two Auckland properties effectively turned into slums by the director of a company called ‘Jesus (2016) Company Ltd’. 

Westpac is looking for Yingqiu (otherwise known as Annie) Zhang and Meijuan Chen, as they have defaulted on their mortgage repayments and haven’t complied with Auckland Council building notices and Environment Court enforcement orders.

Westpac placed ads in the classified section of the NZ Herald calling for anyone who knows where the two women are to bring the notices to their attention.

The notices, pursuant to Auckland District Court orders dated August 31, demand Zhang coughs up $11,914 and Chen $36,667.

It says Zhang and Chen have until November 13 and 15 respectively to pay up and bring the properties back in line with environmental and building standards, before the bank possesses them.

Part of a bigger problem

An Environment Court decision issued on September 27 shows the properties in Paremoremo and Royal Oak are among six in breach of the Resource Management Act. The others are in Greenhithe, Waiwera, Swanson and Mount Roskill.

The houses have been divided into units and in some cases other structures have been brought on site to accommodate for more people. The dwellings, which Environment Court Judge Dwyer dubs “unsafe, overcrowded and unsanitary”, have then been rented out.

The common denominator is that all the development work has been done by the person who manages the properties, Ee Kuoh (otherwise known as Augustine) Lau.

Lau, who works through his company Jesus (2016) Company Ltd, is no stranger to the authorities. A quick Google search brings up a string of media reports related to his property-related offending.

Judge has ‘genuine concern’ about respondents’ lack of respect for the law

Dwyer says his prior experience with Lau indicates he has little regard for the law.

He says the response of Lau and his accomplices to court orders issued in a separate case in September, involving an Otahuhu property, was “evasive, recalcitrant and inadequate”.

As for this case, Dwyer says: “The sustained and deliberate course of illegal building and other activity occasioned by the Respondents [Lau, Zhang, Chen and others] gives rise to a genuine concern as to their willingness to comply with any orders which the Court makes.”

To make matters worse for Westpac, the Court has also struggled to locate Zhang.

Lau was the only respondent in the Environment Court case to actively participate in proceedings. And a March Environment Court decision related to Zhang’s Paremoremo property, concluded she had to be emailed an interim enforcement order as authorities didn’t know where she was.

The decision said she was believed to have resided at a property on Ormiston Road, Flat Bush, for a period before August 2016. However it appeared the property was being managed by Lau, who was bailed to it at the time.

Untreated sewerage discharged onto Zhang’s property

Looking at Zhang’s 436 Paremoremo Road property more closely, the Environment Court enforcement order says: “The original dwelling on this property (which was permitted) has been converted into three dwellings.

“The original garage has been converted into a further dwelling and an additional house relocated onto the property has been converted into five dwellings, giving a total of nine dwellings on the property.

“Additionally, the installation of a new but substandard wastewater system serving the dwellings has resulted in the discharge of untreated domestic waste to land.”

The Court orders Zhang, Lau and Jesus (2016) Company to disestablish all but one dwelling at the site (by removing walls, kitchen and bathroom facilities for example), give written notice to any occupants of the unpermitted dwellings, and decommission the wastewater disposal system.

If they don’t meet the orders within a four-month time frame, Auckland Council is authorised to step in and recover any costs for rectifying the situation.

This Barfoot and Thompson video shows the state of the property when it was on the market in February 2015.

This is what it looks like now:

The Westpac notice also points out Auckland Council issued Zhang Insanitary Building Notices on August 31 and September 18. The bank orders Zhang to comply with these notices.

Lau’s other accomplices

The state of Chen’s property at 676 Mount Albert Road, Royal Oak, isn’t as bad as Zhang’s.

The Environment Court ruling explains the original house has been converted into five dwellings and the garage into an additional two.

The Court orders Chen, Lau and Jesus (2016) Company to disestablish the illegal dwellings and give the tenants notice.

Westpac’s notice also orders Chen to show she’s complied with a Dangerous Building Notice issued by Auckland Council on November 3, 2016.

The other properties that have likewise been modified by Lau (without resource consents or building permits) and rented out, are at the following addresses, and are owned by the following individuals:

  • 56 Albany Highway, Greenhithe. Owned by Yingyue Zhang.
  • 32 Weranui Road, Waiwera. Owned by Quifen Lu.
  • 41A Candia Road, Swanson. Owned by Quifen Lu.
  • 13 Memorial Avenue, Mount Roskill. Owned by Liansen Mao.

Interest.co.nz believes Westpac is trying to find others who have defaulted on their mortgages, and who may have connections to Lau, Zhang or Chen. It doesn’t have any knowledge of who these individuals are.

Westpac risks losing money on mortgagee sale as property value drops

The other notice Westpac has put in the Herald’s classifieds this week is for a Shelly Beach property owner who hasn’t met their mortgage repayments.

Westpac is ordering Jianhua Lu to remedy his defaults by paying $12,003 and “reducing the amount outstanding to the Mortgagee to $477,500 to ensure that outstanding amount secured against the Mortgaged Land meets the Mortgagee’s lending guidelines, and the guidelines set out by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand”.

The notice explains the property at 91 Shelly Beach Road was valued at a lesser amount in April, when Westpac got an evaluation done ($955,000), than the amount outstanding on Lu’s mortgage in September ($1,154,749).

The notice says Lu has until November 10 to comply with the order, before Westpac can take possession of the property.


CORRECTION: The Shelly Beach Road property is north of Auckland, not on Shelly Beach Road in Herne Bay as Jenée Tibshraeny had previously written. 

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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44 Comments

up
31

How the hell do these people get into the country? Are our standards this low?

up
27

In a word YES.

By plane

up
18

Its depressing isn't it.

up
17

Damn right. Shame it takes a threat to a bank's bottom line to get things moving.

up
11

If they're endorsed by politicians, their standards are impeccable. William Yan was considered to be an outstanding citizen. So good that Shane Jones personally arranged citizenship for him. Long list of NZers standing up for William Yan, even if his own claim to fame was being one of the most wanted people in China and his ability to gamble millions at Sky City.

up
22

Un-locatable non-resident owners not on LINZ's list

or, Fictitious ghosts

Some of the “3%” in this story?!

up
13

Like all those reports of derelict abandoned properties in Vancouver where the owners have mysteriously disappeared.

up
19

This makes me wonder if the worm is already starting to turn against rapacious landlords.

up
10

And the banks. The last one mentioned above may be the beginning of a massive loss of profit for the banks due to their policy of promoting interest only loans.

Who is paying rent to live in these slums?

up
13

People who have, or who feel they have, no other choices.

up
10

Well what becomes acceptable in one culture can pushed on to another. Remember Ray Whites were trying to rent out tiny pod homes recently in central Auckland:-

Article: Auckland sleeping pods may have been illegal
http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/money/2017/08/auckland-sleeping-pods-may-h...

Next it will be this "Cage homes": http://all-that-is-interesting.com/cage-homes-hong-kong#1

up
16

The desperate and exploited.

Also the taxpayer, through subsidies.

So, how is this a money making venture. Mr Lau obviously gets lots of rent and presumably passes money on to the owners. The owners have paid a deposit (10%?) and are pocketing any money Lau is giving them rather tan paying the mortgage: but they will lose that deposit. Or perhaps Lau paid them, say Deposit + 50%, and is pocketing all the rent. Anyone got any idea how this works?

Why can't the police find these people ? Are the courts and authorities so helpless or don't they have time to go chasing these kind of law breakers ?
Wait, when they find them they may settle for some cash fine, like they did in the other famous case ?

Because they all look the same and have names like Chen, Lau, Chong, Cheech etc all

Chen Lau Chong yourself. I have friends who are Ching, Ling and Zing and they don't look the same! LOL

Weren't Cheech and Chong Mexicans?

The police aren't looking - its a civil matter

Even with the resources police have, finding people isn't that easy, even if they aren't making any effort not to be found. People don't have to register at their address, drivers licence addresses change over ten years, fewer people have landline subscriptions, lots of people don't enrol to vote, Privacy Act prevents information being handed out without grounds. And they certainly don't have the resources to do it for a bank unless it's a criminal investigation. Up to the bank to hire private investigators if they want to take it that far.

"lots of people don't enrol to vote"

In New Zealand it's compulsory to enrol to vote - otherwise it's a breach of the Electoral Act 1993 - the penalty for which is $100

Whether that's criminal or civil - don't know - ever heard of anyone being fined?

Seriously weird name for a company. That was the first major mistake and things could only get worse from there.

In their twisted logic they probably think it will make the dumb white man respect their company. The same logic that dictates skinning dogs alive and eating them is normal as well as raping entire pieces of coastline of every conceivable living item in order to make stew is perfectly acceptable.

up
25

Anyone can come to NZ and do/buy whatever they like. It’s a free-for all.
Come in whatever means available - ‘wealthy investor’ category and do the above.
Or Enrol as a ‘student’ and buy a job (yesterdays news). Whatever - NZ is desperate and open and naive.
The Media & Courts should not be really using their actual names - that could be seen as judgmental and not liberal-minded.
Are these ‘investors’ part of the 3%?
Do we still actually have a Department of Immigration in NZ.? If so, maybe Winston can get them to start tracking the last 10 years of immigrants and see where they are now and what they are doing. How many are in genuinely skilled work or value added businesses?

Westpac placed ads in the classified section of the NZ Herald calling for anyone who knows where the two women are to bring the notices to their attention.

The classifieds in the NZ Herald. Do they still exist? Who reads them? Perhaps Granny Herald could run an online story. Probably won't happen as it's not the type of property news they want to communicate.

Maybe Phil Twyford's Asian names have some relevance,
Ask Nick Smith.

They'll be back in China won't they?

If they ever left

Police is too busy giving out useless speeding tickets and reaching new heights in crash statistics

it's not a police matter

You are right - the law is tied up with some top level investigations in the small matter of Todd Barclay, the Saudi affair, Jian Yang and other miscellaneous Nat errors to be bothered with this matter.

They must be run off their feet and I guess we can expect some prosecutions by Dec 2024 or the Second Coming of Christ, whichever occurs last.

Make it.

What a stupid lot of idiots these are ....
I would vote for any law that would punish such people by immediate property confiscation and imprison !.... so as no one would dare messing up like this again.

Their tenants will likely be able to get all their rent back
https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/ruling-leaves-landlord-10k-out-pocket

Indeed, one can see that this has happened, which may explain the defaults on the mortgage.
https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/TTV2/120520916.pdf
https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/Documents/TTV2/120525733.pdf

Search here for further examples https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search/TT/

The Shelly Beach Rd property is actually north of Helensville. Not in Herne Bay as mentioned in the article. The exterior picture is not the right property.

Thanks for the note zxcvb. I have checked this out and you are right, the Shelly Beach Rd property is north of Helensville, not on Shelly Beach Rd in Herne Bay. Thank you for pointing this out. Apologies to everyone for the mistake. 

I really really hope Winston goes with Labour rather than the crowd who allowed this mess to fester..

Yes. suspect that Banks will have to set up a team to seize and resell such properties, and clean up to new proposed WOF levels for resale back into the market (read in haircut time). Owners should have money laundering status (citizenship) revoked and their photo loaded on a "return to sender" list at all points of immigration.

But its only 3% maaaaate.

Is anyone else starting to connect the dots here? Could these people have bought their properties before the Capital Flight restrictions and Westpac gave them a loan for the remaining amount, less their deposit? If this was a common scenario with Westpac during the boom, then how many other loans are also non-performing/bad and doubtful debts? Looking at the bigger picture, this could be the start of our banks making huge losses due to offshore mortgagees no longer able to bring in cash to pay their defaulting loans. YIKES. Haircut anyone?

Buzz cuts looking good

Could this be another of the straws that will break the ponzi camel's back.

Tip of a gigantic iceberg that is about to either crack into pieces or melt entirely ?