Inspectors from Liquor & Gaming NSW have seized more than 340 cans and bottles of alcohol at a popular Sydney CBD Korean restaurant.
Covert inspectors were last week able to buy alcohol at the Young Pochas restaurant in Pitt St despite the venue’s liquor licence being cancelled in July.
When it was licensed, the restaurant had a poor compliance history including offences for allowing a patron to become so intoxicated he became unconscious, and multiple offences of selling alcohol outside authorised trading hours.
The restaurant has since had its licence cancelled for failing to pay its licence fee.
During their operation, inspectors also discovered that the staff member who sold them alcohol to them did not have Responsible Service of Alcohol accreditation.
Liquor & Gaming NSW Director of Compliance Operations Sean Goodchild said it is illegal to sell alcohol without a liquor licence and not worth it if you get caught.
“Venues that let their licence fees lapse and become unlicensed can face serious consequences,” Goodchild said.
“Unlicensed liquor sales can pose significant risks of harm to the public as well as create an unfair financial advantage over other operators who are doing the right thing.
“The offence carries maximum penalties of an $11,000 fine and/or 12 months imprisonment.”
Liquor & Gaming noted that the rules for liquor retail in NSW are there to safeguard responsible service and prevent purchases by minors.
Licensed venues must complete licensee and RSA training to be eligible to hold a licence.
The licensing process also determines the suitability of a licensee and how the licence could impact the local community.
Korean restaurants failing on liquor responsibility
The incident at Young Pocha’s follows several high profile situations at other Korean restaurants in Sydney.
In November 2018, the 88 Pocha small bar in Sydney’s CBD was ordered to shut for two weeks after being caught serving beer and soju to a 17-year-old.
In suspending 88 Pocha’s liquor licence under the Minors Sanctions Scheme, the Authority also took into account the venue’s poor compliance history.
This included operating outside authorised trading hours, selling bottles of soju in contravention of its liquor licence and allowing intoxication.
In July 2018, staff at a Sydney CBD restaurant dumped two unconscious female patrons on the street after letting them drink 16 shots of spirits within 40 minutes.
Gangnam Station Korean restaurant in Sussex St is facing a range of sanctions due to the incident, described by the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority as one of the worst breaches of liquor laws in NSW in recent years.
In September this year, the licensee of a Korean restaurant in Sydney’s CBD faced disciplinary action after two patrons became so intoxicated during a drink binge that they were found passed out on the road outside the venue.
The male and female patrons were part of a group of five who NSW police allege were served up to 86 standard drinks of soju over six hours at the Haru Fusion Soju Lounge in October last year.