Teen-aged son interpreting at hearing dismissed
A restaurant which was found to be employing illegal workers will be put under the microscope by police and immigration officers for a second time.
China Palace on Oxford Road was given another chance to review the licence after the owner called on his teenage son to translate at the hearing on October 24.
The Licensing Applications Sub-Committee was due to make a decision on the future of the restaurant after Thames Valley Police and Immigration Enforcement discovered 11 illegal workers between March 2011 and July this year.
However, the hearing was adjourned after more than an hour when council solicitor Jite Binitie recommended the meeting be rearranged to allow for a proper interpreter to be drafted in.
They will meet again on November 14 at the civic offices.
Licensing officer Richard French said: "The employment of illegal workers and their possible exploitation for financial gain is clearly an extremely serious criminal offence.
"Revocation of the licence should - even in the first instance - be seriously considered.
"There are no acceptable excuses or justification that can be offered for this."
Police found three male Chinese workers and one young Malaysian woman at China Palace on July 13, working illegally as either kitchen staff or waiting tables.
The eatery was also found to be in violation of several food safety measures, with no food safety management system or staff training in place.
China Palace was also handed a hygiene rating of 0 out of 5 after inspectors found mould in the kitchen.
This was later updated to 3 out 5, but council staff suggested this was a minimum expectation for establishments to achieve.
Staff were found to be working long shifts, receiving cash-in-hand payment and were being paid below minimum wage.
At the previous hearing, owner Hui Chang Yin suggested it was the fault of the illegal workers for failing to tell him as the employer that they did not have the right to work in the UK.
When staff were questioned by immigration officers, they confirmed no right to work checks had been carried out.
At a similar hearing by the same committee, Himalaya Momo House in Caversham lost its licence following a string of immigration offences.