Arrest made in consulate fire in California

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The FBI announced Monday the arrest of a Chinese national in the investigation of a fire set intentionally at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco.

FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson said Yan Feng, 39, of Daly City was arrested Friday after he called police in the San Francisco suburb. The FBI arranged for his surrender.

The suspect, who has permanent resident status, made his first court appearance Monday and was held on charges of causing damage to property of a foreign government and arson, Johnson said.

The FBI did not announce an alleged motive, saying the investigation is ongoing. But Johnson said the FBI does not believe terrorism, politics or civil rights were involved. "Right now, we're looking at this as purely a criminal matter," he said.

No one was hurt in the New Year's Day blaze that charred a doorway and damaged the lobby of the building.

Consulate workers said surveillance cameras showed a person exit a van with two buckets of gasoline, pour the fuel on the building and ignite the blaze. The FBI said Monday they recovered a white mini-van believed to be the one seen in the video.

The FBI said earlier that no bomb-making materials were found.

Consulate spokesman Wang Chuan has condemned the attack and would not speculate on a motive.

In March 2008, a group of people poured flammable liquid on a security gate at the rear of the building and set it on fire. No injuries were reported.

That fire came on the day San Francisco supervisors heard public comment on China's human rights record months prior to the start of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The issue arose because of the scheduled Olympic torch run through San Francisco.

The FBI said the latest fire was not related to the 2008 blaze.


AP reporter Terry Collins contributed to this story.