'I'll beat him up' - Maori Party investigating allegations candidate threatened NZ Herald reporter

The Maori Party is investigating allegations its first Chinese candidate threatened violence against a journalist.

Botany candidate Wetex Kang is accused of posting an audio message on the Chinese social media app Wechat about a reporter. Source: 1 NEWS

Botany candidate Wetex Kang is accused of posting a number of threatening audio messages about reporter Lincoln Tan on the Chinese social media app WeChat.

Mr Tan is a senior reporter for the New Zealand Herald and reports on diversity issues.

A front page report from September 7 written by Mr Tan revealed Mr Kang’s campaign had offered "hong bao" (digital or virtual money) to users of the app.

After investigating related complaints, the Electoral Commission cleared Mr Kang’s campaign, saying the practice did not amount to bribery.

However, after the Commission released its findings, a concerned member of a private WeChat group contacted 1 NEWS and provided translations of a series of audio messages that Mr Kang had allegedly posted to the group.

The translations provided to 1 NEWS have been checked by independent translators.

Sources say these messages form the basis of Mr Tan’s police complaint.

According to the translated messages, Mr Kang took to WeChat on September 12 to say he was suing Mr Tan.

"If I win the compensation from him [Mr Tan], I’ll donate the money to charities. I don’t want his dirty money."

He goes on to question Mr Tan’s character and suggests: "If I don’t punish him who would?"

In two further messages he speaks directly to a member of the group: "…no problem. I’ll beat him up, beat the death of him."

Finally, Mr Kang makes reference to the digital red envelope saga: "If you are found guilty, you’ll be in big trouble. Why aren’t you beating him up?"

Mr Kang told 1 NEWS that the matter was with lawyers at the moment.

Mr Tan would not comment and referred 1 NEWS to his employer NZME, who did not return calls.

Police would not say whether Mr Kang was under investigation.

Maori Party president Tukoroirangi Morgan told 1 NEWS the party was meeting tonight to open an investigation. He would not say how long it would last.