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Jealous lover found not guilty of China Bar murder

The identity of Yoke Onn Chi's killer remains a mystery after a man accused of bludgeoning the Melbourne restaurant boss to death was found not guilty of the crime.

Alexander Min Vui Wong, 42, faced a six-week trial in Melbourne's Supreme Court after being charged with the murder of the 56-year-old China Bar owner.

The Northland Shopping Centre dumpling bar boss, whose brother created the China Bar franchise, was seen alive on CCTV leaving the car park to drive home about 9.15pm on January 31, 2020.

Mr Chi's son was returning from working away when he found his lifeless body in the hallway of their Templestowe Lower family home about 11pm.

His father's face had been so badly mutilated he didn't realise who the person lying in a pool of blood was, the jury was previously told.

Initially, police believed a burglar may have attacked Mr Chi because his wallet, an iPad and a bag holding the restaurant's takings were missing.

There were no direct witnesses to the murder and the prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence at the trial.

Crown barrister Mark Gibson KC accused Mr Wong of laying in wait for Mr Chi to return home after closing his restaurant before using a rubber mallet to beat him to death.

He told the jury Mr Wong attacked Mr Chi in a jealous rage, believing his estranged wife Penny, who'd worked for the restaurant boss, was having an affair with him.

Their marriage had broken down due to Wong's infidelity and she had moved in with Mr Chi briefly before returning home to Malaysia two weeks before he was found dead.

However Mr Wong's barrister James McQuillan said police never found a trace of blood on or around his client, despite the blood-soaked crime scene.

He said someone else had murdered Mr Chi and suggested a black glove found by police at Mr Wong's house, with Mr Chi's DNA on it, had been planted.

Jurors returned a not guilty verdict just before midday on Friday, after two days of deliberations. It means the person who killed Mr Chi remains a mystery.

Justice Michael Croucher thanked the jury as he discharged them and apologised to Mr Chi's family for their loss.

"It must be a horrible thing," he said to them.

He told Wong, who was sitting in the dock, he was free to go.