A local Thai restaurant was in the news this week, again for the wrong reasons. The Bangkok Paradise, in downtown Salem, has been cited numerous times for promoting excessive drinking that results in violence in the neighborhood. The Police Department’s entire shift responded to the Bangkok Paradise restaurant around 1 a.m. September. 1, as several fights erupted and a crowd of roughly 100 people spilled onto Washington Street. This incident also involved underage drinking and resulted in multiple arrests.
The City of Salem Licensing Board reviewed this incident this week and is holding the restaurant accountable. Although it looks as though a liquor license suspension will not be enacted at this time, the board strongly stated that this will be the next move if serious efforts are not made by the establishment to address this problem.
Although not directly addressed at this week’s hearing, a second serious incident took place on September 30. Around 1 AM, a man was stabbed in a serious of street fights involving Bangkok Paradise patrons in two locations in the downtown area. Although his injuries were not serious, the extent of the violence heightened concerns in the community. It is unclear what effect this second incident might have on the Licensing Board’s decision about the previous incident. Salem Police Chief Paul Tucker has stated: “We will address this and we will fix this, whatever it takes.”
Yesterday, it was announced that virtually every downtown Salem establishment that serves alcohol beverages was re-enacting a previously utilized plan to enact harsh penalties on patrons who engage in disruptive behavior. First put into place in 2008, the “One Strike, You’re Out” rule states that “anyone arrested or issued a no-trespass order by police at one of the participating restaurants” will be banned from all of the listed establishments for 6 months. The comprehensive list of participants in this plan effectively results in an evicted patron being “run out of town” following a single offense.
Salem has built a reputation as a Saturday night destination for many lovers of night-life. Many new restaurants and taverns have opened and enjoy the easy access the town provides through rail and highway. However, the nightlife has always leaned in the direction of good, safe fun and the business owners and city officials are obviously working together to keep it that way.