Liquor licence clashes
By BRENDAN DELFINO
POLICE were attacked yesterday for failing to provide adequate evidence to support their opposition to liquor licence applications.
The Liquor Licensing Board called for a meeting with police to discuss the issue after officers could not convince the board of their cases.
The three applicants - the Dream Island Pub in Mongkok, Quo quo restaurant and bar in Central and the Kam Hing Congee and Noodle Shop in Western - were awarded temporary licences of up to six months each at yesterday's meeting despite the latter two establishments being caught selling alcohol illegally.
During the meeting, members asked police representative Chief Inspector Branny Au Yeung Yan-chun why no follow-up inspections had been made on the trendy Quo quo bar after it was charged and warned last May for having alcohol on the premises.
Ms Au Yeung said Central Police station was busy and lacked the staff to return to the bar.
Board member Manuel Chan Tin-shing said the lack of information confused those in the meeting and said a thorough discussion with police was needed on the matter.
'Since the police cannot give us comprehensive information, how can we make a decision? From a legal point of view no records were provided showing illegal sales of liquor - even though they oppose the application,' he said.
'They have put the board into an embarrassing position. We need to have a thorough evaluation on the procedure of issuing licences. The police say they lack manpower but this is always the excuse.' Members' tempers flared when representatives from the Yau Tsim Mong District Board failed to show up to yesterday's meeting to give information on their opposition to the Dream Island Pub's application.
Board chairman Stephen Wong Hon-ching said although he was happy with the licensing control by police, more effort was needed in securing information to present to the board.
Police spokesman Peter Randall said the amount of information the police could provide was a question of manpower.
'The police have a duty to uphold the law but they do have limited resources. They cannot go into a bar every night to check its licence,' he said.
'If they are asking for more detailed information then it will require more manpower - it could even slow down the licensing process.
'But whatever the board thinks is necessary then we will look at it, and if feasible we will do it. We are always open to suggestions.'