The licensee of Sydney CBD’s K Square Karaoke bar has been penalised for allowing an intoxicated young woman on premises who was later hospitalised after being found unconscious on the street outside.
Police initially found two young men vomiting on George Street, in Sydney’s CBD at 11.40pm on Saturday 20 April 2019. After speaking with the two men, they noticed a young woman who was non-responsive being carried out of K Square Karaoke.
The young woman had been with the two men and others inside the karaoke bar.
The Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) has imposed a strike against licensee Mr Heung Hung Ng under the NSW Government’s Three Strikes disciplinary scheme.
CCTV footage from the venue shows the patrons singing and dancing inside a booth at K Square Karaoke, being served cocktails of Hennessy and green tea by staff. One of the patrons removes his shirt and another patron climbs on the shoulders of his friend during the drinking session. The shirtless patron later vomits in a bucket within the booth.
The young woman is seen to be dancing and then sometime afterwards passes out on the booth’s lounge. She remained unconscious in the booth for over 30 minutes before vomiting, and was carried to the street by friends and security.
Body cam footage released by the Sydney City Licensing Police shows the young woman being carried on to a bench on George Street after which police call an ambulance.
Following the incident the young woman admitted to having drunk two cocktails, and one and a half bottles of soju before entering K Square Karaoke.
ILGA chair Philip Crawford said this case clearly demonstrates the risks of young people pre-loading alcohol before entering a licensed premises.
“Young people pre-loading is a real risk and this case highlights how serious the consequences can be if venues aren’t vigilant,” Mr Crawford said.
“Had police not intervened and called an ambulance the outcome could have been a whole lot worse for the young woman and her family.
“Karaoke bars or any other venues where staff can’t closely monitor patron behaviour carry extra risk of alcohol-related harm.”
“In this case, venue staff were delivering drinks to the group and may have had no idea who’s consuming what.”
Mr Crawford also said that there were specific risks with drinking soju.
“Soju can be flavoured so patrons may not notice how strong it is, and the potency can vary from 16% to over 50%.
“Soju has been a factor in a number of intoxication incidents over the last year, so any venues serving this drink should do everything they can to serve it responsibly.”
The NSW Government has released the draft Liquor Amendment (24-hour Economy) Bill 2020 for public consultation, which aims to create a vibrant and safe 24-hour economy, with risk-based liquor laws that support business. Public submissions close on 28 June 2020.
As part of the draft reforms, the Government has proposed a new incentives and sanctions system with ongoing fee discounts for licensed venues that maintain a clear record.