Cops raid Hy Ting; find no underage drinking

05/13/2011 3:37 PM |

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riverhead police raided Hy Ting Restaurant on East Main Street after receiving a tip for underage drinking. Except it turned out to be a false alarm.

Riverhead Police raided downtown’s Hy Ting restaurant on East Main Street Thursday night, acting on a tip that minors were being served alcohol there, officials said.

Cops found no underage drinking, but issued a violation against the owner of the Chinese restaurant, Ken Loo, because his liquor license had expired, according to a police press release.

Mr. Loo in an interview said he believes he’s being “picked on” by local authorities.

“The liquor license expired April 30, and I have my [renewal] application in,” he said. “They came here with 10 cop cars in the back and everyone in here was over 21. I don’t have to be pushing liquor on minors. My family owns three restaurants in this town. We make all our money on food.”

He also faxed to the News-Review a copy of the liquor license, which shows that it expired April 30.

“I’ve held my license for 17 years here,” he continued. “And I never had a problem. Did they really need to send all these cops in here? And not one arrest.”

He said all the patrons were ID’d by police.

Mr. Loo also owns the Haiku sushi restaurant on East Main Street, which he opened in late 2009. His brother, Jim, owns Birchwood Cafe on Pulaski Street.

Hy Ting was also cited for extension of premises and failing to produce business records after the 10 p.m. raid.

“There was a person out back drinking with other people who were smoking,” Police Chief David Hegermiller said of the extension of premises charge. As for the business records charge, Chief Hegeriller said it had to do with paperwork not being in order or off the premises.

He said not properly documenting where liquor is being purchased is one example where a business owner can be charged with failure to present records.

Chief Hegermiller said the department wasn’t picking on the restaurant, as Mr. Loo had asserted.

“We had a complaint,” he said. “I can’t see how that’s being picked on.”

He also pointed out that the department did recent checks of several convenience stores for underage drinking, a sweep that resulted in seven arrests.

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40 Comment

  • They are not picking on you Ken. To all persons wanting to open a business in our town, “Run, don’t walk, away”. They harrass all business people here. Why is downtown and the Grumman property empty? When Ken wanted to open a new restaurant in town I begged him not to open here. Well, because he didn’t file a $1,000 permit to fix the inside, that in any other town he wouldn’t have needed anyway, the town fined him $4,000 more. Kind of like a welcoming committee. I have been doing business in Riverhead for 30 years and nothing has changed. So I will call town hall on, lets see….. Tweeds, Road House ,Rendezvous,Diggers ,and maybe some more restaurants so they can send swat teams in and find nothing. Next time how bout one cop going inside and looking first. What a waste of valuable police time and taxpayer money. Lets kill the few Mom & Pop businesses left.

  • I love Hy Ting Restaurant. I don’t go there as much as I’d like to, but when I do, it’s always a very good experience, great atmosphere and excellent service.
    I know there are many good people of Riverhead who are ashamed of our town police and how they handled the situation and their over reaction. Whatever happened to the good police, the ones that wanted to “protect and serve” the public. Like the guy said “To all persons wanting to open a business in our town, “Run, don’t walk, away”. Imbred’s here are decades deep.

  • Honestly, I believe this town will do anything to make life difficult for business owners. I’m sure the same people that called to “complain” will be the same one’s complaining when there are no mom and pop businesses left and Riverhead is filled with Friday’s and Applebees’. You would think as a small town we would look out for each other and our local businessmen??? to all the many town employees of riverhead…”Please for one day TRY to run a business”…maybe next time you will think twice before slapping a Fine/Permit/Fee on a struggling business. In this economy we should be praising our smart businessmen for being able to survive, not punishing them.