Case against alleged XPZ supermarket arsonist sent up to the High Court

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Suspected arsonist Tianzhao “Alex” Feng during yesterday’s court hearing. The XPZ store was reduced to a mangled wreck by the June 2021 blaze (Observer file photo)
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By Latrishka Thomas

[email protected]

The next time the country hears of Tianzhao “Alex” Feng, who is suspected of burning down XPZ supermarket, he will be appearing in the High Court where he will be answering to the arson charge against him.

Yesterday, Magistrate Conliffe Clarke committed his case to the May assizes where the accused can be called any time after May to enter a plea.

In committing the matter, the prosecution tendered several pieces of evidence which they will rely on if Feng pleads not guilty.

Over 10 witnesses are also slated to testify should the matter go to trial.

Feng appeared in the St John’s Magistrates’ Court unrepresented, but left with attorney Wendel Robinson who volunteered to take on his case.

This was after Feng told the court, through an interpreter, “I want a lawyer. I have nothing to say”.

The 30-year-old had been missing for several days after the XPZ Supermarket where he worked went up in flames in the early hours of June 1 2021.

After he was arrested and charged with burning down the Sir Sydney Walling Highway department store, Feng made his first appearance in the St John’s Magistrates’ Court later in June.

His application for bail was denied after the prosecution argued that Feng, who was unrepresented, presented a flight risk and he was remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) pending his committal hearing.

The Chinese national was remanded back to HMP since the requirements to consider his bail were not met because he did not have his passport or anyone in Antigua and Barbuda who could stand as his sureties.

It was also revealed that his time in Antigua and Barbuda had expired.

The XPZ store opened in 2018, selling everything from food and clothing to household items and toys. Its destruction also caused almost 60 staff to be out of work.

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