Chief of Police Paul Tucker, accompanied by one of his captains and three patrolman, told members of the Salem Licensing Board last Tuesday that "my officers feel this situation with Bangkok Paradise is out of control. As Chief I cannot let this stand."
Tucker's comments came after a 40-minute hearing during which members of the Salem Police detailed an incident that occurred just before 1 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 1 outside of Bangkok Paradise located at 90 Washington St. During that incident, a 20-year old woman, arrested for disorderly conduct claimed to have been served two beers inside the establishment, according to police.
Also present at the meeting were Jesus Franco of Franco-Paradise Inc. who holds the license for Bangkok Paradise. Franco brought with him his attorney, J.P. Story and two members of his security team, who were present on the morning in question.
Franco, through his attorney, said that the underage woman "was never seen inside Bangkok Paradise." He also added that, "the events in question are not legally sanctionable."
The four police officers all testified as to the size and unruliness of the crowd that morning. They agreed that there were between 75 - 100 people milling about on the sidewalk in front of the business, across the street and directly in the street impeding traffic and creating a "loud and combative atmosphere".
Captain Brian Gilligan, who was on a scheduled walking patrol that morning, said that, "staff from the Bangkok expressed concerns prior to the incident about the size and tone of the crowd." He also stated that, "they are grossly understaffed to deal with the crowd they draw." He further added, "this is a serious safety hazard to traffic and the public."
All four police officers were asked if they had actually seen the underage woman inside the establishment. Capt. Gilligan was the only one to say that he had seen her inside of the Bangkok Paradise.
Licensing Board members John Casey and Rick Lee questioned Franco as to his staffing levels and how much training is provided to their security personnel. Lee asked if they were drawing an out of town crowd and Casey questioned Franco as to how much he is involved with the nightly operation of his business.
Casey stated clearly that, "you need to look at our history; I can name past trouble spots in Salem that you wouldn't recognize because they are no longer around."
After Chief Tucker spoke, the board moved to continue the matter until the next meeting on Oct. 15. Until then, investigation into this incident and a further incident on Sept. 29 will continue.
After the meeting, Franco's attorney spoke with Patch and said: " Mr. Franco is taking continued steps to make an enjoyable and safe atmosphere for his patrons."