, Salem, MA

Local News

October 10, 2012

Board: eatery must make changes

Salem: Police describe Bangkok Paradise's crowds as 'belligerent and bordering on violent'

The Police Department’s entire shift responded to the Bangkok Paradise restaurant around 1 a.m. Sept. 1, as several fights erupted and a crowd of roughly 100 people spilled onto Washington Street.

The out-of-control scene was described by several officers to the city’s Licensing Board last night, as the restaurant’s owner, Jesus Franco, came before the board for a charge of serving alcohol to an underage patron.

“It took us quite a bit of time to get the crowd under control,” Sgt. Richard Gagnon said. “... Traffic (on Washington Street) was pretty much blocked.”

Franco’s attorney, J.P. Story, assured the board that Franco is “on high alert.”

“... (He’s) taking steps to ensure that if this did happen (on Sept. 1), it won’t happen again,” Story said.

The Licensing Board took no action against Bangkok Paradise last night, postponing its decision until Oct. 15, when Franco will come before the board for a separate complaint regarding the restaurant’s entertainment license.

“This does not mean that you are free and clear,” board member John Casey told Franco. “We expect you to make changes immediately. ... Tonight is a lesson for you in modification of your business practices.”

Police arrested four people outside Bangkok Paradise in the early hours of Sept. 1, charging them with disorderly conduct. One of those arrested, a 20-year-old from Brookline, told police she had been served two beers at Bangkok Paradise.

“When we have to send the entire shift to one location, we are overwhelmed,” police Chief Paul Tucker told the Licensing Board. “It leaves the rest of the city bare, and I can’t let that stand.”

Bangkok Paradise, at 90 Washington St., is next to the Red Lion Smoke Shop. Franco took over the restaurant in January.

Police have responded to numerous complaints in the area of the restaurant recently, including a stabbing last week.

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