Booze-soaked karaoke lounge fined $20K
A MACGREGOR karaoke bar has been busted letting its patrons smoke inside, free-pour their own spirits, play drinking games, and become so drunk they needed to be carried outside.
Yesterday in Holland Park Magistrates Court, Ausin International Group Pty Ltd, which operates the Wynners Karaoke Lounge on Kessels Rd, was fined $20,000 for 10 breaches of the Liquor Act 1992 (Qld).
The offences were committed between October 14, 2018, and April 20, 2019.
The action was brought by the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation.
Many of the breaches were identified from seized CCTV footage or during compliance inspections.
According to OLGR's tendered facts, obtained by Quest Community News, on 11 separate occasions, CCTV captured "patrons within the karaoke rooms... free-pouring spirits straight from the bottle into jugs and mixing it with fruit juice, or pouring spirits freely into shot glasses".
On two occasions, patrons swigged straight from spirit bottles.
Patrons were sometimes given entire 700ml spirit bottles with no "sufficient measures" to monitor the consumption of these.
Three times CCTV footage identified patrons in extraordinary states of intoxication.
On December 1, 2018, a group of patrons arrived at the lounge at 9.22pm.
Over the next approximately three-and-a-half hours, one member of the group, a male of Asian appearance wearing a white short-sleeved shirt, was observed "playing drinking games where the loser was required to skoll liquor which included straight spirits from a shot glass... He was also seen skolling liquor after being involved in what appeared to be toasts".
At 12.38am on December 2, he was observed sitting by himself, "swaying from side to side", before falling sideways, "face first" into the seating before sitting back up.
At 12.46am, he vomited in a cup on the table until it was "completely full", before a patron handed him a bucket.
He was handed a bottle of beer by a staff member, which led to a charge of supplying liquor to an unduly intoxicated person.
In another instance, on February 11, 2019 at 1.24am, a female was left "slumped over a seat near the front counter of the premises for approximately 12 minutes", stirring only once when she was roused by a fellow patron.
"She was observed being carried out of the premises over the shoulder by an associate as she was unable to walk due to her high state of intoxication," the OLGR facts stated.
The drinking game played by patrons in the karaoke rooms involved dice, wherein the loser would "rapidly consume liquor".
Each karaoke room was fitted out with a special apparatuses for the playing of these games, or it was made available to patrons, according to the OLGR facts.
Other offences included allowing liquor to be taken off the premises and to be consumed outside of licenced hours.
The court was told that the director of the company, Chu Yun Chang, who was present in court during the sentence, voluntarily participated in education sessions, while the company offered staff additional training, hired two additional staff, and erected a gate outside the premises.
Acting Magistrate Rob Turra said it is "clear the defendant fell a long way short of their obligations regarding their patrons and the community".
He accepted that "cultural factors" contributed to the offending.
"It's submitted that east Asian countries have different drinking practises," Mr Turra said.
"I have no doubt that patrons found the environment welcoming and nostalgic.
"However, I do not accept that these cultural differences should mitigate the penalty when balanced against the stringent liquor licensing laws that the defendant ought to have been well aware of."
The company was also ordered to pay $101.80 costs.
No convictions against the Liquor Act 1992 (Qld) were recorded.