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Show Cause Hearing – Selectmen decide to work with Kowloon Restaurant on measures to prevent future Thanksgiving Eve bar fights and underage drinking in the bar

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By Mark E. Vogler


Kowloon Restaurant staff confiscated 13 fake IDs from teenagers who were told to leave the restaurant, according to a Saugus Police report of last year’s Thanksgiving Eve Bar Brawl, in which four individuals were charged. “It should be noted that Bobby Wong informed me that any staff member that seizes a fake ID is paid $50.00 by the restaurant for each ID,” Lt. Shawn Flynn wrote in a Nov. 30, 2023, report to Police Chief Michael Ricciardelli.

“This is to encourage employees to be vigilant in checking customers who appear to be under the age of 40,” Flynn said.

That part of the report was cited as evidence favorable to Kowloon at Tuesday’s show cause hearing that selectmen conducted to determine whether the Route 1 restaurant establishment should face any disciplinary action – including possible suspension, revocation or modification of its all-alcoholic beverages Common Victualer’s license. The selectmen opted not to take any disciplinary action. They voted instead, unanimously, to adopt several measures to prevent a similar incident from happening again.

The investigation by Saugus police determined that two of the four people involved in the altercation at the Hong Kong Lounge were 19 years of age. They used false ID credentials, which enabled them to obtain green Heineken wristbands so they could be served alcohol. “The only way for them to get those wristbands was to present an ID at the entrance fraudulently indicating they were 21 years of age or older for the purpose of procuring alcoholic beverages,” Lt. Flynn wrote in his report.

Attorney Ira H. Zaleznik, the special counsel hired by the town to handle the show cause hearing, had four police officers sworn in as potential witnesses. But the selectmen determined that the testimony by Chief Ricciardelli and Lt. Flynn was all they needed to hear. And early during the hearing, which lasted about an hour, they were pleased with the way the Wong family has managed similar problems in the past and its recent efforts.

As part of a solution to prevent similar incidents, selectmen voted to have Kowloon:

  • Work with the Police Department to determine the appropriate police details to be on scene on future Thanksgiving Eve nights when a large crowd turns out
  • Consult with the Fire Chief on what he considers would be adequate fire personnel to monitor the occupancy limits to avoid overcrowding
  • Acquire a professional scanner for scanning IDs to reduce the potential number of underage people gaining access to the bar areas
  • Also consult with Inspectional Services and the Fire Department about determining capacity on a room-to-room basis

Wong told selectmen that Kowloon staff confiscate “one or two fake IDs a month.” He brought a box to the hearing containing numerous IDs that staff have confiscated over a period of years.

“You go beyond trying to find illegal licenses,” Selectman Corinne Riley told Wong.

Selectman Anthony Cogliano expressed concerns about the shortcoming of scanners to detect fake IDs. Cogliano raised the issue of underage bar patrons using the IDs of older brothers who can legally drink. He said that when he was 18, he used his older brother’s ID to gain admittance to a bar. “A scanner is not going to pick that up,” Cogliano said.

As part of his research, Chief Ricciardelli said, he had the Police Department review a decade’s worth of records to find out whether there were any past problems on Thanksgiving Eve. “I found two in the past 10 years and they both took place in the parking lot,” Chief Ricciardelli said.

Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Jeffrey Cicolini said he doesn’t consider incidents in the parking lot as serious as fights inside the establishment.

Chief Ricciardelli said policing underage drinking at bar establishments will continue to be challenging. He noted that in recent years “kids are going to a website” to buy “very high-quality” fake IDs from China that are difficult to detect. Chief Ricciardelli said the Wong family “works well with us to solve any issues that come up and they work well on their own.”

The chief noted that “overall, the incidents are probably on the low side for an establishment that big, with that much of a capacity and the amount of patrons in and out of there every year.”

The four individuals arrested in last year’s bar fight:

  • Rosaria Sophia McCauly, 32, of North Reading, charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (to wit glass beer bottle) and disorderly conduct
  • Arnold John Carey Marujo, 19, of Somerville, charged with procuring liquor to someone less than 21 and disorderly conduct
  • Donovan Clark, 19, of Lynn, charged with procuring liquor to someone less than 21, disorderly conduct and assault and battery
  • Anthony John Micelli, 35, of North Reading, charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct.

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