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The possibility that something untoward has happened to a missing engineer cannot be ruled out after nearly two weeks without contact.
49-year-old Xizhong ZHU, known as Mark, lives alone in New Plymouth and works as an engineer for a local oil company.
He was reported missing to police after he failed to turn up to work after the Queen's Birthday holiday weekend. He had mentioned in passing to a colleague that he was going to Auckland for that weekend and police have confirmed that he booked into a motel in Auckland for one night on Saturday, 30 May. The purpose for that trip is unknown.
The motel room was booked and paid for in advance on his credit card but since then neither his credit card, nor bank account, have been accessed and there has been no activity on his cell phone. Mr Zhu would ring his son without fail every weekend but no friends or family have had any contact since his disappearance. Mr Zhu's passport has not been located by police, but records show he has not used it to leave the country.
The company that employs Mr Zhu, Transfield Worley, hired a helicopter last Friday to fly State Highway 3 between New Plymouth and Te Kuiti in case Mr Zhu had crashed his car out of sight of the road, but this too brought no leads.
Detective Sergeant Greg Gray said: "As time goes on we have to consider the possibility that some harm has come to Mr Zhu whether that be some sort of accident or something more sinister. His disappearance is totally out of character and no matter who we speak to we can find no reason why he would deliberately go missing and not make some sort of contact with family."
Mr Zhu drives a red Subaru Impreza hatchback, registration CDK 640, that is also missing and police particularly want to hear from anyone who has seen this car or has even had this car sold to them in recent days.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Detective Sergeant Greg Gray on 06 759 5513 or Detective Paul Barron on 06 759 9428.
Media enquiries should be referred to Communications Manager Kim Perks on 06 351 2546 or 027 234 8256.