A Melton Chinese takeaway, where immigration officials detained four men in a raid in October, has now had its premises licence revoked by the borough council.
Enforcement officers, assisted by police, swooped on Golden Choice, in Windsor Street, and seized two Chinese nationals, aged 32 and 33, and a 53-year-old Malaysian national, who had overstayed their visas, plus a 20-year-old, also Chinese, who was working in breach of his visa conditions.
Members of the council’s licensing sub-committee were told at their latest meeting that the owners of the eaterie had since been fined £30,000 for employing people who didn’t have a right to work in the UK and that two of those detained have since been removed from the country.
Councillors heard representations from the police concerning the immigration offences and found that the licensee, Xia Ming Wong, was irresponsible, had breached his licence conditions and lacked the diligence required of a licence holder.
Adele Wylie, the council’s director for governance and regulatory services, said: “The night time economy should be managed as effectively as any other licensable activity.
“The council has a duty to regulate licenced activities and consider appropriate action where a breach is identified.
“The sub-committee felt it was a reasonable and proportionate measure to revoke the licence on the basis of the evidence provided.
“This decision should send a clear message that the council takes its responsibility seriously and will take action against licensees for not upholding the licensing objectives and failing to comply with the law.”
The raid, which took place on Thursday October 17, followed intelligence being received on working practices at the takeaway.
Sgt Dave Thorley, one of the police officers who attended, wrote in his report to the licensing committee: “I was at the rear of the premises and as officers entered the shop front of the building a Chinese male ran out of the rear and this male was stopped and escorted back into the property.”
He said he went upstairs and saw that three small rooms were being used as bedrooms with a single bed in each and personal goods and clothing inside each.
“During the detention of three of the males they were escorted individually upstairs and each recovered their personal belongings from their respective bedrooms indicating that they had been living in these bedrooms on a regular basis,” Sgt Thorley added in his report.
Immigration officer Kelly James, who was also present, stated in a report that the owner was questioned by a colleague and he said he employed two people and the others were helping out with cleaning.
Mr Wong, when questioned, said it was not his responsibility to carry out immigration checks, the report continued.
Councillors were told that since the joint immigration and police raid Mr Wong has left the business and left no forwarding address.
The takeaway has been taken over by HHL 17 Limited, Ms Yan Luo, the licensing sub-committee heard, and the company was considering transferring the licence but it had not yet happened.