Bottle shop owner clueless about laws

18:42, Jan 15 2013

A bottle shop owner has had his licence cancelled because he has a "complete absence of understanding" about liquor laws.

The NZ Liquor Licensing Authority suspended Ming Zhao's general manager's certificate in November last year and his shop, Thirsty Liquor in Pakuranga, had its licence suspended for several weeks after he sold alcohol to underage customers in several stings.

Zhao was awarded a re-hearing in December after claiming he hadn't been told about the hearing, so was unable to appear and give evidence. 

With "considerable reservation" the authority granted a re-hearing but made it clear it was only to reconsider the punishment.

In a recent decision the authority found Zhao was incompetent, didn't understand his responsibilities and didn't have any systems in place to prevent further breaches. 

The authority cancelled Zhao's licence, but continued the initial off-licence ban for his store to give Zhao time to find a new general manager or sell the business. 



In a decision released earlier this week, the authority denied an application by Han Oh Kim for a general manager's certificate.

The authority heard Kim, an employee of Southmall Liquor Bargain in Manurewa, had sold alcohol to a man who was so intoxicated he could barely walk.

Auckland District Licensing Authority inspector Gail Tagaloa told the authority she had seen a man enter the liquor store in February 2012 then come out empty handed. As he passed her, ''she noticed that his eyelids were almost to the point of closing and that he was having difficulty in standing up and walking straight''.

Tagaloa said she later saw the man re-enter the bottle shop with a woman and leave with a box of beer. The woman also had a box of alcohol. 

She said in-store security footage showed the man ''staggering backwards away from the counter'' and using the woman to ''hold himself up''.

The authority heard Kim, 25, had three convictions - two for drink driving and another for careless driving - but police had not objected to his application. 

Kim told the authority he didn't think the man was intoxicated but admitted he could have been ''high''. 

In denying Kim his licence, the authority said while it wasn't an offence to sell alcohol to someone affected by drugs, it still raised "concern as to the judgement and suitability of the seller".


Thanit Singhcharoenchai was also denied a general manager's certificate by the authority because of his criminal history.

Singhcharoenchai, who had worked at Nickie's Restaurant and Bar for 11 years, applied for a licence in July last year and declared convictions for using offensive language, possessing a knife in public and possessing cannabis for supply. 

Police opposed Singhcharoenchai's application on the basis of those convictions and two others that he hadn't declared involving a drunken car crash.

In July last year Singhcharoenchai flipped his car after losing control while doing twice the speed limit in a 50kmh zone in Greenlane East. He was later found to have a breath alcohol reading of 708 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath. The legal limit is 400. 

The authority requires a stand down period of at least two years for people applying for liquor licences if they've been convicted of offences involving alcohol.

Auckland Now