Chinese national Tianzhao (Shanjow) Feng made his first court appearance this afternoon, June 9, in the St. John’s Magistrates Court and was denied bail at this time.
Therefore, Feng, who is commonly known as “Alex,” has been remanded to custody, charged with arson for burning down the popular XPZ Supermarket.
Magistrate Conliffe Clarke, before whom Feng appeared, has indicated that he will revisit bail for the Chinese national on June 23 in the presence of Immigration officials.
As is required by law, a translator had to be present to interpret the proceedings, since the Chinese man will have to be tried in his own language.
Feng, who was not represented by a lawyer, told the Court he was not sure that he could secure two native Antiguans to sign as sureties on his behalf.
The prosecution has deemed Feng a flight risk and has objected to bail. Reportedly, the Court was also told that there appear to be some inconsistencies regarding Feng’s immigration status.
A woman tells REAL News she does not understand how his immigration status could be in question since Chinese nationals usually submit their documents through a single representative and time would routinely be granted.
Meanwhile, because arson is an indictable matter – meaning it has to be tried in the High Court – committal proceedings have been set for September 29.
Feng turned himself in to the Police on Monday, June 7, after going missing since May 31. He was picked up in the Gambles Terrace area after a resident notified the Police of his whereabouts.
He was subsequently charged on Tuesday, June 8.
Feng reportedly was having issues with his Chinese colleagues, which, some speculate, might have led him to commit the illegal act.
XPZ Supermarket was destroyed by fire in the early-morning hours of June 1. Feng was last seen at about 11 p.m. the night before the inferno.