Emeka Nwaegbo a hotel attendant of the Ernest Hotel in the Ikeja area of Lagos State told an Ebute-Meta Magistrate’s court that Forty-seven-year-old Zhen Zhen attempted to kill her lover, Leo Feng, 41, for sleeping with her without giving her food by setting the hotel on fire.
Nwaegbo revealed that much when hearing for the case resumed and present in court were the manager of the hotel, Ernest Nwayerem; the hotel attendant, Nwaegbo; and the representative of the Chinese Embassy, who identified himself only as Olayiwola.
The attendant revealed that the couple were regular customers of the hotel who checked into the hotel on Allen Avenue, Ikeja, on July 4 smoking recklessly in their room as they shunned warning from a hotel attendant who told them to stop their act.
Recounting the incident, Nwaegbo said the couple who were later arrested by the police seemed not have money on them after Feng, who was indebted to the hotel, dropped his personal effects, promising the management that he would pay his outstanding debts.
“At about 10.30pm, they both checked into the hotel. The man dropped his belt, money, passport and socks with the receptionist downstairs because they owed the hotel some money.
“I was conducting a routine check round the hotel when I discovered that the frontage of their room was littered with cigarette stubs and broken plates.
“I told them to pack the dirt, but the woman started shouting on me; I did not understand because she was speaking in their language.
“I later went downstairs to call the manager. When she got there, she tried to calm them, but they did not listen to her.
“Some minutes later, Feng came downstairs saying he wanted to collect what he dropped at the reception. I gave him everything, except his passport.” Nwaegbo said.
Continuing, Nwaegbo said someone later raised a fire alarm when Feng was stepping out of the hotel premises and the hotel manager was alerted after it was discovered that the fire started from Feng’s room.
“When I asked the female suspect what happened, she said the man starved her for two days and that was why she wanted to burn him in the room. She said, ‘Two days, I no chop. I wan make e die.”
When interrogated, Feng who spoke through an interpreter denied the allegation saying that the fire actually started from a TV set in the hotel room.
“I did not set the hotel on fire. The fire started from the television in the room. I did not tell the room attendant that he (Feng) starved me for two days; he is lying. We always bought food from a restaurant,” she said.
The representative of the Chinese Embassy, identified only as Olayiwola said the embassy wanted the law to take its course.
“The embassy said the suspects did not come into the country through it. Also, it gathered that their passports are expired.”
Before adjourning the case till August 9, 2016, the magistrate said the argument of the defendants on how the fire started was unconvincing enough asking all the parties to meet and agree on settlement terms, just as the hotel insisted on recovering its loss which it estimated at over N17m.
The suspects, who could not meet their N2m bail conditions, were remanded in prison until they perfected their bail conditions.
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