Chows hit opposition in brothel application
Brothers plan to expand 'adult' empireIAN STEWARD
Wellington adult entertainment entrepreneurs, The Chow brothers, have hit stiff competition to expand their business empire.
John and Michael Chow's Mermaids strip clubs and brothels have had a single objection registered to their Auckland liquor licences - by rival strip club Calendar Girls.
The Chows have applied for liquor licences at their two Mermaids and Splash Clubs on Gore St and the newly-opened site on Karangahape Rd through their companies KR Entertainment and GS Entertainment.
An Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority hearing is under way at the Auckland District Court after an objection to the licences was raised by the Chows' competitors - Jacqui Le Prou and her Calendar Girls clubs.
Le Prou, supported in court by her partner James Samson, is represented by lawyer Steven Rollo.
Calendar Girls moved to Auckland following the Christchurch earthquake and Mermaids and Calendar Girls now are situated on opposite sides of K Rd.
The Chows' lawyer Alistair Sherriff told the authority that the brothers' applications were not opposed by the District Licensing Inspector, the Police or the the Medical Officer of Health, but a single objection has been registered by Casino Bar No 2 - Le Prou's company she co-owns with Christchurch man Aaron Greenwood.
Sherriff said the Chows had eight businesses for over 12 years and had only experienced one negative incident.
The Auckland licences were sought in long-standing adult entertainment areas and it would be a "great step backwards" to not grant the licences.
The Calendar Girls objection, if successful, would eliminate a trade competitor, he said.
Mr Rollo said he planned to call 13 witnesses, however Judge John Hole prohibited publication of any evidence until the hearing has completed.
The hearing is set down for three days.
Last year a spokeswoman for the Chows said they were still planning to build a 15-storey Penthouse Club brothel complex opposite the SkyCity Casino, although construction work probably would not start before 2015.
Commissioners appointed by Auckland Council late last year granted resource consent for the development, which drew 200 objections.
The complex - including bars, restaurants, a strip club, brothel, hotel accommodation and offices - is to be built on the site left vacant by the Palace Hotel.
The historic hotel was demolished in 2010 for safety reasons when walls began cracking after excavation work started on the site.
The Chows own the "luxury gentlemen's club" Il Bordello in Wellington's Vivian St, and another Wellington brothel, Splash Club, which is attached to The Mermaid bar in Courtenay Place.
They are also property developers and have made the National Business Review's annual Rich List.
They emigrated from Hong Kong in 1984 and began working at their parents' takeaway in Courtenay Place before moving into property.
Their business The Chow Group claims on its website to control more than $200 million in real estate, with ambitions to hit $1 billion by 2020, though NBR put their net worth at $50m.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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