If you live in or around Wimbledon, chances are you may have already heard that Bar Sia has been shut until further notice following a drug raid on Friday night which was so incorrectly reported in the Wimbledon Guardian that its driven me to straighten out a few things...
As many of you know, I am probably considered a Regular Regular of Bar Sia that has been frequenting the venue for many years and although you may think of the word "biased", this article is written fair and correctly with a sense of what is right.
Last Friday night, police descended on Bar Sia night club in Wimbledon in what seemed to be a massive raid operation that could rival a riot situation or CSI murder scene, comments from passers by have said to have been quite surprised, as it seemed as if someone had actually been murdered in the club due to the magnitude of the police operation that was underway. Out of the ±50 people at the venue that night, some arrests were made and those arrested are said to have later been cautioned. This much is true.
Early today an article was posted in the Wimbledon Guardian, if you haven't read it yet then you may want to click the link and have a squizz. As I read the article this evening I was absolutely shocked and appaulled at the amount of incorrect "facts" that the Guardian had posted, that from this point on I would quite honestly question anything they publish as it may be as invalid as the information published in this article. If this guy calls himself a journalist then I'm going to apply for a Top Reporter's position at the New York Times tomorrow morning.
So lets point out a few things that are completely incorrect...
Bar Sia, in the Broadway, was stripped of its licence by Merton Council after the police raid on Friday, March 4, in which four people were arrested for possessing class A drugs – including the bar’s doorman and a DJ.
False - 3 people of the same group were arrested in possession of Meow Meow which is a Class B drug, those arrested were said to have been let off with a caution. The doorman was questioned as a package was found outside on the ground near to where the doorman was standing, which quite honestly could have been anybody's, realistically speaking, even someone walking passed the venue at the time or before the time if they noticed a large police presence.
Detective Inspector Donna Smith, of Merton police, said the bar had been under surveillance for a year, during which 15 violent crimes were recorded in connection with it.
Fair enough this may be a correct figure, however lets put things into perspective, where there is alcohol, there is going to be a fight at some point, I am not aware of any young social venue that serves alcohol with a clean record in this respect. In an entire year there have been 15 incidents, now the capacity of Bar Sia is around 180 people, so lets take the busiest nights into account only being Saturdays, on an average of say 150 people to make this simple. That's 150 people one night a week for 52 weeks of the year, which amounts to 7800 customers, so at a rate of 0.001% of the 7800 customers just on Saturday nights ends up in a fight. Bar Sia is open 7 days a week so the actual percentage is going to be far less. In my opinion hardly a reason to completely shut a venue down. The thing that has surprised me the most about this whole thing which has caused me so much disbelieve over this entire matter is that on numerous occasions I've seen massive brawls spew out of the club just up the road while I stand outside Bar Sia having a cigarette and thankfully standing at a safe distance from the commotion. Funny enough this has always been a common topic of discussion with myself and the doormen whilst having a cigarette since it happens quite frequently. It really amazes me that Bar Sia is in this predicament since it is purely for that very reason that I don't frequent the other venue at all.
Doorman still employed after bottling customerPolice also found a samurai sword tucked away in a safe, later found to be owned by the same doorman, Michael Klindkradt, who was convicted for attacking a customer with a bottle last year
Now this is a part that concretes that much of the information in the article is invalid... Firstly Michael Klindkradt is not a doormen, he is a barman. Yes he was convicted of a provoked altication with a customer some time ago, yes a bottle was involved however I do think that the term "bottled" is used a little loosely in this sense, in my opinion, bottling someone is taking a bottle by the neck and smashing the body of the bottle over a person's head as we've all seen in the movies. Yes a Sumurai sword was found in the safe (rightly so) however this was not owned by Michael Klindkradt, it was confiscated some time ago from a customer who had somehow managed to enter the venue with it and later found to be in possession of it. With regards to Michael still working at Bar Sia, although we wouldn't know of the conversations between himself and his employers, I think it is safe to say that he would have most definitely had a very formal and stern talking to from his employers which resulted in him barely keeping his job by the skin of his teeth.
Codenamed Operation Hammerstein, the raid involved more than 60 police officers who pounced on Friday night by covering the bar’s exits and searching more than 200 customers.
It appears there may have been 60 police officers, however the amount of customers amounted to ±50, as a common comment is that it was virtually one officer to one customer. If you've been out in Wimbledon on Friday nights recently, you can quite believe that.
The rest of the article goes on with points that I cannot challenge since I do not know for sure, however judging from what we've seen in the article, anything is questionable.
Drug use and violent crime is a common problem in any venue and it would be interesting to find out the statistics of other venues in and around Wimbledon to at least draw some justification as the situation that Bar Sia is currently in, as due to being a regular patron of Wimbledon as a whole, I'm sure some venues would show some alarming results. Some venues do take proactive action to prevent drug users from taking drugs on the premises, those who frequent Bar Sia will understand when I say, if you've ever had the joy of having to use the toilet cubicle at Bar Sia when the urinals are occupied, its not hard to notice the huge clump of Vaseline that is smeared all over the toilet paper dispenser since whilst you're trying to keep aim, you're also trying to not let your arm or shirt touch the dispenser to not get a nice smear of Vaseline on yourself.
It is a great shame that something like this would happen to Steve, as over the years that I have got to know him, he always goes out of his way to provide good hospitality, he comes across as a very down to earth, respectable businessman who runs his business very professionally and would have very little tolerance for anybody caught doing drugs or committing acts of violence in the venue. Steve is an independent owner so unlike other franchised venues in the area, he goes out of his way to make sure Bar Sia is one of the best venues in Wimbledon since it is his livelihood which is clearly and notably something that is close to his heart. Bar Sia has always been a place with a better, friendlier and more decent social crowd, hence why I have always been a regular patron, because in my opinion, its far safer than other late night venues in Wimbledon, because good people go there, however in every walk of society you have a small minority who cause trouble, and trust me when I say Bar Sia's minority is very small. I love the Wimbledon community, which is why I promote it so much, but taking Bar Sia away will be a great loss to the community as far as respectable venues are concerned.
I do however commend the police on taking action, I think it is an absolutely brilliant that they are taking big steps to curb drug use and especially anti-social behaviour in Wimbledon, as Wimbledon should be a place that good people want to go out in to enjoy a good night out, they have my full backing and support in tackling these problems, as this is the place I call home, however I do believe that a massive error has been made in regards to targeting Bar Sia as the focal point to the problem, as I am still completely dumbfounded that it has become the prime target in these matters.
If you believe that bar sia is a safe, well run venue that would be missed if shut down, then please show your support by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (copy & paste)within the next 14 days.If you would like to provide a character reference for Steve a character reference would be a massive help to the appeal!
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