Truong slumlord case: who is Shai Hung Tan?

by Peter Newport - Jun 25, 2023

Queenstown slumlord James Truong is in business with a person named Shai Hung Tan, but Crux can find no record of such a person existing apart from being the business partner of Mr Truong.

Could they be the same person? Crux can find no evidence of Shai Hung Tan in any public or social media records or posts - except for the official Government companies register. Shai Hung Tan and James (Oai Phuoc) Truong appear to share the same series of addresses across the South Island. 

Since Crux discovered dangerous, overcrowded conditions in Queenstown this week with up to 30 tenants crammed into what had been a three bedroom house, including five people living in the garage, we've been investigating the companies and properties linked to Mr Truong.

He's listed by QLDC as the owner of the controversial Johnson Place property in Queenstown - but using the name Oai Phuoc Truong. His address in the QLDC rates database is listed as 11 Poynter Street Blenheim.

11 Poynter Street, Blenheim - listed by QLDC as the home of James Truong - aka Oai Phuoc Truong

There are no company directors or shareholders in the NZ companies database with the name James Truong - but a number of companies are linked to Oai Phuoc Truong.

One company, Jade Orchid Investment Ltd, shows ownership as below - Oai Phuoc Truong (aka James Truong) 40%, Shai Hung Tan (55%) and Be Hung Tan 5%. This company record, updated in May 2023, shows Mr Truong's address as 59 Highview Terrace, Queenstown. 

The recently updated company record of Jade Orchid Investment Ltd.

And, linked to this official company record is the form that Mr Truong signed to confirm his consent to be a director of Jade Orchid Investment Ltd, again using the 59 Highview Terrace address and signed on March 23 this year.

Mr Truong signed this document agreeing to be a director of Jade Orchid Investment Ltd on March 23, 2023, using the full residential address of 59 Highview Terrace, Queenstown.

However, when Crux visited 59 Highview Terrace there was no evidence of Mr Truong or Shai Hung Tan. The QLDC rates database lists the owner of 59 Highview Terrace, valued at $2.1 million, as Shai Hung Tan of 11 Poynter Street Blenheim. The Queenstown property appeared to be rented to a group of separate people, none of whom, when interviewed by Crux, knew of either James Truong or Shai Hung Tan. 

59 Highview Terrace, Queenstown - no sign of Shai Hung Tan or Oai Phuoc Truong - or James Truong

11 Poynter Street in Blenheim has the ownership details withheld in the Marlborough District Council database but Google street and satellite images suggest it's a rental property in a medium to poor state of repair with a seperate sleep out.

Shai Hung Tan is also a director of Accolade Property Management Ltd, using the address of 29 Francis Street, Blenheim - another property that looks like it may have been developed into a multi-occupancy rental in a medium to poor state of repair. 

29 Francis Street Blenheim - an address used by Shai Hung Tan

Also in Blenheim, James Truong makes an appearance opening a new Thai noodle restaurant - referred to by Stuff back in 2012 as "Christchurch-based Noodle Canteen director James Truong" and "the Noodle King."

James Truong (Oai Phuoc Truong) opened a noodle restaurant in Blenheim in 2012 with this Stuff article hailing him as the "Noodle King"

Noodle canteen branches are listed then as being in Queenstown, Invercargill and Richmond, near Nelson. Crux understands that Mr Truong is no longer connected with the Queenstown noodle business.

But Richmond is also the address - 81 Champion Road - used by the mysterious Shai Hung Tan in various company registration documents linked to ethnic food, fish and chip takeaway businesses as well as property management companies.

The only common connection between these various addresses seems to be the use by Shai Hung Tan of a firm of Christchurch accountants - Young and Success Ltd, 100% owned by Wendy, or Wan Lei, Lu.

Crux will be checking in with Young and Success Ltd next week to find out what they can tell us about Shai Hung Tan and James Truong/Oai Phuoc Truong. James Truong surfaced in Christchurch as the defendant in a Tenancy Tribunal case centred on a rental property in Waimairi Rd, Upper Riccarton.

In the meantime Crux can find no trace online of the detailed Johnson Place Notice to Fix document detailed by us last week. The document, that we downloaded from the QLDC EDocs public database, recorded a raid by QLDC and MBIE investigators in December 2019 that detailed multiple compliance failures at the Johnson Place property and listed fines that totalled $200,000 plus a further $20,000 a day if the actions required in the Notice weren't undertaken. QLDC emails online (now disappeared) showed council staff being convinced that Mr Truong was only renting his house to "extended family members" and had somehow fixed all of the other problems detailed in the QLDC/MBIE Notice.

Following the site visit the QLDC’s building control officer Lyndon Paul concluded his report with this statement:

“From my research the owner Mr James Truong has a history of similar actions at various locations around New Zealand. Mr Truong has made a clear intent to deceive council representatives by removing elements from the site. Evidence on site confirmed the occupancy numbers maybe higher than we are currently aware of. There is significant risk to occupants as there are a number of building codes clauses that at this time cannot be determined.

“I cannot determine whether the building is dangerous in that injury or death to any persons on the site could occur. I cannot determine whether the building is insanitary and is likely to be offensive or likely to be injurious to health without further investigation.”

The report makes it clear that MBIE investigators recorded bodycam footage during the same 2019 site visit.

Crux has asked QLDC why the Notice to Fix document has disappeared from the public database and what new council investigations are now underway. MBIE has also agreed to keep Crux updated on their own investigation into Truong and Johnson Place.

On two occasions last week when Crux met with Mr Truong he refused to answer our questions as to the identity or whereabouts of Shai Hung Tan.


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