Chief Tucker Calls Situation at Bangkok Paradise 'Out Of Control'

Licensing Board considers allegations of underage drinking and large, unruly crowds.


Chief of Police Paul Tucker, accompanied by one of his captains and three patrolman, told members of the Salem Licensing Board last Tuesday that "my officers feel this situation with Bangkok Paradise is out of control. As Chief I cannot let this stand."

Tucker's comments came after a 40-minute hearing during which members of the Salem Police detailed an incident that occurred just before 1 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 1 outside of Bangkok Paradise located at 90 Washington St. During that incident, a 20-year old woman, arrested for disorderly conduct claimed to have been served two beers inside the establishment, according to police.

Also present at the meeting were Jesus Franco of Franco-Paradise Inc. who holds the license for Bangkok Paradise. Franco brought with him his attorney,  J.P. Story and two members of his security team, who were present on the morning in question.

Franco, through his attorney, said that the underage woman "was never seen inside Bangkok Paradise." He also added that, "the events in question are not legally sanctionable."

The four police officers all testified as to the size and unruliness of the crowd that morning. They agreed that there were between 75 - 100 people milling about on the sidewalk in front of the business, across the street and directly in the street impeding traffic and creating a "loud and combative atmosphere".

Captain Brian Gilligan, who was on a scheduled walking patrol that morning, said that, "staff from the Bangkok expressed concerns prior to the incident about the size and tone of the crowd." He also stated that, "they are grossly understaffed to deal with the crowd they draw." He further added, "this is a serious safety hazard to traffic and the public."

All four police officers were asked if they had actually seen the underage woman inside the establishment. Capt. Gilligan was the only one to say that he had seen her inside of the Bangkok Paradise. 

Licensing Board members John Casey and Rick Lee questioned Franco as to his staffing levels and how much training is provided to their security personnel. Lee asked if they were drawing an out of town crowd and Casey questioned Franco as to how much he is involved with the nightly operation of his business.

Casey stated clearly that, "you need to look at our history; I can name past trouble spots in Salem that you wouldn't recognize because they are no longer around."

After Chief Tucker spoke, the board moved to continue the matter until the next meeting on Oct. 15. Until then, investigation into this incident and a further incident on Sept. 29 will continue. 

After the meeting, Franco's attorney spoke with Patch and said: " Mr. Franco is taking continued steps to make an enjoyable and safe atmosphere for his patrons."

A. October 10, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Quality of life in Salem has been under a violent attack for a while now.
Ellen kozik October 10, 2012 at 09:05 PM
First i want to say that i know the owner of this establishment and he is a very hard working man...To run a Fun...place to hang out in Salem is not exactly an easy thing to do....as far as Gilligan goes, i would'nt believe two words that come out of his mouth..he tends to tell tales that makes hinself look good...so....yes i agree that something needs to be done about the crowds
Ellen kozik October 10, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Where do you think we live ed Natzi Germany???? Give me a break
Eric Yanco October 11, 2012 at 07:45 PM
@justin, I'm really gonna be kind to you because you seem to just not understand things. The business didn't stab anyone so stabbings aren't their violation. Also, stabbings happen in many places. If they happen in front of Dunkin Donuts, you wanna shut down Dunkin Donuts? Wanna shut down downtown Salem where many drunks run into each other after drinking at several establishments? If the ppl all walked down to city hall and fought there, would you shut down city hall? How many people get arrested when visiting Salem for the month of Halloween? Wanna stop Halloween in Salem? If there's something, clearly spelled out that Bangkok should be doing, and they're not doing it, ok, fine them, but if they're only guilty of attracting large crowds with some people who can't behave after, then Salem should put some of those new fines they get from the meter hours.
Eric Yanco October 11, 2012 at 07:57 PM
@justin, I'm really gonna be kind to you because you seem to just not understand things. The business didn't stab anyone so stabbings aren't their violation. Also, stabbings happen in many places. If they happen in front of Dunkin Donuts, you wanna shut down Dunkin Donuts? Wanna shut down downtown Salem where many drunks run into each other after drinking at several establishments? If the ppl all walked down to city hall and fought there, would you shut down city hall? How many people get arrested when visiting Salem for the month of Halloween? Wanna stop Halloween in Salem? If there's something, clearly spelled out that Bangkok should be doing, and they're not doing it, ok, fine them, but if they're only guilty of attracting large crowds with some people who can't behave after, then Salem should put some of those new fines they get from the extended meter hours and beef up patrols. Or be very clear as to what Bangkok can do to prevent the situation.
Justin Mattera October 11, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Sir, please don't hold hold back, i'm a grown man with a loud opinion. To kindly respond, I say this: YES, if stabbings and fights happen on a regular basis (in my opinion, once is enough) in front of a certain business and nothing was done to attempt to prevent this from happening again, then YES, the business should be shut down. If it happened in front of a DD, shut them down as well. Stabbings have no place in this city, NONE. Halloween has absolutely NOTHING to do with what is happening, NOTHING! Please do some research and see that this business is removing the tables at night, hiring a promotion company and bringing in certain clientele that for some reason has trouble follow them. If I can't walk down the sidewalk at night and not be worried that I wont be stabbed, then the business should be shut down. Must I remind you that these same owners used to own Casa Blanca on Lafayette street and were closed down. Guess why.........2 SHOOTING and 2 STABBINGS. I rest my case. I am always open to a good argument, but in this case, it's clear that I am Brown and you are Warren.
john October 11, 2012 at 08:45 PM
What can Bangkok do? Hire a police officer to work on weekends inside the bar.Don't serve people who have had too much to drink and limit the number of people inside to a controlable number. It's simple and Salem has the ability to put an end to it.
Kalesy October 12, 2012 at 02:54 PM
My first night of living in Salem (just across the street from Bangkok Paradise) I got to witness this event. It was a full-on riot. I saw a guy pick up a girl, throw her over his shoulder and run away. Club-goers were actively threatening the police and were visibly drunk (vomiting on the sidewalk anyone?). Serving patrons to the point of obvious intoxication IS a violation of liquor license. After witnessing this and other weekend night "fun," my family and I are already planning on moving out of Salem. Sadness for a city I was really excited to live in...
R Lim October 13, 2012 at 08:35 PM
I witnessed a gang stabbing outside 7/11 (White Hen at the time) about 4 years ago on Halloween Night in Salem, MA (and yet white hen wasn't shut down).... I also witnessed over 30 tourists/residents surrounding the victim, taking pictures/video, laughing as the victim attempted to climb a fence and let me tell you, I was the ONLY person on the phone with 911 that night! Bangkok Paradise is not the problem, the problem is the violent culture of Salem, MA. I hear more talk about violence in the point then I hear about violence in the "City of Sin" (Lynn, MA). Maybe the police should try to target the source,of this violence rather than publicly calling for a witch hunt against new business owners who are trying to make a living. Before Bangkok existed there has been a history of violence in Salem. If Bangkok is shut down violence still exists... we all know what happened the last time someone cried Witch in Salem... lets not allow this mob mentality to get the best of us.
R Lim October 13, 2012 at 08:36 PM
SIDE NOTE: I am one of the men who promote, book, and run the shows on Wednesday night @ The Bangkok Paradise, we have always been cooperative with the Police, we shut down our shows at 12:45 just to make sure everybody is out of the bar by 1AM (closing time in Salem for those who are unaware). We do our absolute best to control the crowd, but like everywhere else in the world people can get rowdy when in groups and especially when they are inebriated... when this happens we deal with it, in the event that we feel it has become out of our control, we'll call the police ourselves. If you don't want rowdy people in the streets of Salem then you might as well make Salem a dry town, but see how that effects business in Salem. Salem is a place with a lot of history, its major tourist destination, a home to one University, and to many families and businesses. But it also has a huge reputation for violence, drugs, and homelessness (next time your in Salem ask someone about rainbow rd or the point)... again a Witch Hunt is not going to solve the problem.
john October 13, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Wow. You just explained the problem. 15 minutes to clear a bar? No wonder they are going nuts in the streets. Shut down your shows earlier.
R Lim October 14, 2012 at 09:09 PM
In all my years working as a DJ I have NEVER seen a bar end a show or kick out their patrons before closing time.
john October 14, 2012 at 10:01 PM
If the show ends at closing time,how can you not have people in the bar after closing time? You have last call then the band stops with time to spare to clear the bar and lock the door at the closing time.I question your years of doing what you claim.
R Lim October 15, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Closing time is 1AM... we kick people out at 12:45... 15 minutes is more than enough time to clear a 150 person capacity venue. All doors are locked at 1AM and nobody is ever allowed to enter after that unless your working for the bar or the djs and your actively packing up equipment or cleaning. This is pretty much standard procedure at any venue I have ever worked with.
R Lim October 15, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Most venues kick out their patrons at closing time... not 15 minutes before! We did that as a courtesy to the Police... its sad that they chose to treat the Bangkok Paradise unfairly in all this. I am ashamed for the City of Salem.
john October 15, 2012 at 11:51 PM
You have no credibility.First you said nobody kicks the customer out before closing and then you said you kick them out at 12:45 when the closing time is 1am. You cannot possibly empty a bar at exactly 1am unless you start clearing them out before that time so you must be kicking them out before 1am. Last call is the best way to clear a bar.What time is last call at Bankok? Your out on a Lim.
R Lim October 16, 2012 at 05:21 AM
I said that we kicked patrons out 15 minutes early as a courtesy to the police. Meaning, they requested it and we complied. Every other venue I have ever worked with/at never kicks their patrons out before close. Since when did last call mean it was time to leave? Most bars push one last round of drinks at last call.
R Lim October 16, 2012 at 06:07 AM
This is all irrelevant anyways the police found their witch and burned em. Bangkok today got their entertainment license revoked for six months (one day BEFORE their scheduled hearing). It saddens me that my production group is being forced to leave Salem, especially before Halloween. We had some amazing DJs scheduled to play in Salem this month. Certainly the biggest acts in night life Salem has ever hosted. I always saw Salem as a great place for business, but its clear to me now that although Salem is a great location the city doesn't have what it takes to support true night life. Bangkok was targeted and treated unfairly.
Matt Hurst October 16, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Bangkok should be closed down. It is a blight to the community. The patrons are nothing but brawlers and dregs. It is a nightly ritual to see and hear them cursing and staggering out of this establishment. I am taken aback that the licensing board is approaching this establishment with sparing the rod and spoiling the child approach. Close it down! For the supposed want to be promoters take it to Lynn (A real nightclub promoter would not even frequent this establishment), as you obviously could not make it in the "Big Cities." True Night-life does not consist of drunks, underage drinking and drugs. Peddle you wares and whine someplace else.
William Legault October 16, 2012 at 04:47 PM
"Biggest acts in night life Salem has ever hosted". Do a little homework Mr. R. Lim before you go posing as an expert. http://www.salemjazzsoul.org/story.html http://www.yo-yoma.com/video/teaser-two-goat-rodeo-sessions-yo-yo-ma-stuart-duncan-edgar-meyer-chris-thile http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/frank-zappa/1984/winter-island-salem-ma-3bd0e8c4.html http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/stevie-ray-vaughan/1984/winter-island-salem-ma-53d68345.html
Billygoat October 16, 2012 at 05:46 PM
If you build it, they will come. I blame the current administration and their myoptic opinion of what constitutes a vibrant and sustainable local economy. As an aside, I always find it amusing when people attempt to play the tourism card. Can someone please point me in the direction of a tourism based economy where the quality of life isn't absolutely terrible for the people who actually live there? Vegas? Florida? Cape Cod? Tourism is not a sustainable economic model. It's fool's gold, punctuated by brief periods of feast and prolonged periods of famine. Anyone with half a brain - sorry Mayor Driscoll, this excludes you - would recognize the fact that if the health of your local economy is predicated on something as capricious as the weather 4 months out of the year or your willingness to allow the entire world using your streets as public toilets and/or boxing rings, you're not in an enviable position. Here is Salem, we bend over backwards to accommodate. It's actually a bit embarrassing. We should really think a little more highly of ourselves...
R Lim October 16, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Certainly would have been the biggest names in EDM (meaning DJs) Salem has ever seen and could have turned the club scene in Salem around. Let me clarify it for you I was talking about electronic music, I don't consider any of the artists you mentioned nightlife... maybe back in your day they were but hello, I cater to the 21+ crowd... not the 50+ crowd... its ok though I'm not going to insult your intelligence that's your game.
john October 16, 2012 at 06:42 PM
I agree about the administrations short comings,but as I have said before we have an excellent person in former chief St.Pierre overseeing the licensing board and an excellent police department.Together they have come through for residents and made it clear this will not be tolerated.They also take a very firm stand with homeowners who have an unusually high amount of complaints for police response. Those homeowners are targeted as problem homeowners and get notified and fined if calls continue.
William Legault October 16, 2012 at 06:52 PM
When and how did I insult your intelligence Mr. R. Lim?
R Lim October 16, 2012 at 07:01 PM
One hour ago you suggested to me that I... "Do a little homework, before posing as an expert." That is a pretty clear stab at my intelligence.
Truth Speaks October 16, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Mr. R Lim, You were going to bring the biggest names in EDM to Salem? Hmm, and you were going to do it at Bangkok Paradise? Hmm. Lets try and put this into perspective, your talking about bringing extremely popular djs and putting them into a building that has a max capacity of 100-150 people? You wouldn't be able to sell tickets at a high enough price to entice these people because you wouldnt be able to draw the crowds needed due to the max capacity being so low. And if you want to talk about bringing the biggest EDM name to Salem look at what Barstool did last year at Rockafellas. A dj group by the name of White Panda with over 84,000 likes on Facebook (http://boston.barstoolsports.com/m/featured/the-countdown-to-barstools-maiden-voyage-to-the-north-shore-with-white-panda-at-rockafellas-is-on/). So are you still trying to say that you were going to bring the biggest EDM names to Salem ever?
William Legault October 16, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Well Mr R Lim it was not a stab at your intelligence. It was a statement made in response to your post where you made a declaratory statement that displayed a lack of awareness as to the history of music and entertainment in Salem. It was, I admit, a shot at your failure to research a subject prior to making such a statement.
R Lim October 16, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Lol think what you want and insult me all you want... We've done work in Boston, Cambridge, NYC, CT, NH and our professional network stems beyond cali to the west and the UK to the east. Salem worked because it was a place that had NOTHING! Its called a Niche market. We turned that place in to a Night Club every Wednesday night by bringing in over 6K worth of lighting, extra sound, professional equipment, and pro DJs. The Bangkok Paradise is NOT our only business venture,
R Lim October 16, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I think what you consider to be nightlife is a bit different from my own perspective. Most people in my demographic wouldn't consider a 30 y/o band, yoyoma, or a jazz festival as a being a night out on the town.
R Lim October 17, 2012 at 05:37 AM
Truth Speaks... you clearly have no idea how bookings work. Most major DJ's will jump at the opportunity to play Halloween Night in Salem... especially in an intimate venue. We had the DJs booked... and yes the DJs we booked far surpassed the Caliber of DJ White Panda is. Like I said before, we're talking real EDM not Mashup DJs.


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