A SECRET and unlicensed karaoke club serving ‘an awful lot of iced tea’ was unearthed during a raid on a Chinese restaurant.
The owner of Twins Chinese Restaurant in Albert Road was found hiding in a toilet 90 minutes after police smashed their way into the building last month.
Police say they have concerns about the establishment being given an alcohol licence and Portsmouth’s licensing manager Nickii Humphreys thinks it should be refused. It goes before councillors next week.
The restaurant had an alcohol licence until it lapsed more than a year ago.
According to a report compiled by PC Matt Moss, who works for the city’s violent crime reduction and licensing department, two police officers visited the first floor of the restaurant earlier this year and found three karaoke rooms upstairs. They issued Mr Xu with a warning.
It was then found that he had not registered as the owner of a licensed premises with the authority, described by him as an ‘administrative error’ and was given a second warning. According to PC Moss’ report, Mr Xu was again told that under ‘no circumstances’ should be rooms be used for karaoke or the selling of alcohol.
Mr Xu applied for provisional licences to keep serving alcohol in the restaurant until a permanent licence was granted.
However, the upstairs area has never had permission to serve alcohol.
After a tip-off, PC Moss returned to the restaurant on March 30 at around 12.45am and called for backup.
In the report, he says: ‘I attended Twins and found the premises locked with people inside.
‘On checking the rear I could hear music and believed at this point that licensable activity was taking place.
‘I called for further help and since I was happy with the circumstances, I took the decision to force entry.’
Officers smashed the main window of the restaurant’s door to get in.
Once inside, police found three karaoke rooms ‘full of people’ with ‘an awful lot of iced tea’.
Several bottles of Chivas Regal whisky were found in bin liners.
PC Moss said: ‘It appeared that these had been hidden in a hurry and it was clear that all the bottles had recently had alcohol within.’
He added: ‘Mr Xu must have known that the police were present on the night of our check on the premises as we were there for at least 90 minutes before we located him in a toilet. It is inconceivable that he could have spent that long on the toilet and not come out to see what was happening in his restaurant.’
Mr Xu was arrested and interviewed under caution on another day. An investigation is being carried out by police.
Ms Humphreys said Mr Xu’s legal representative had told the authority that ‘the first floor of the premises was solely set aside for staff purposes only and that licensable activities were not provided nor intended to be’.
However, she went on to say: ‘This was in direct conflict with first-hand evidence provided by the police by way of previous visits to the premises.’
Last night, The News approached the restaurant’s owner but received no response.