Chinese restaurant owner jailed for sex assaults on waitress


The owner of a Chinese restaurant in Portadown offered a teenage waitress £20 to show him her breasts, Craigavon Magistrates Court heard last Wednesday.

And Shu Chu Chen (38), who was convicted of two sexual assaults on the girl, tried to bribe her not to go to the police.

Chen, owner of the Golden Panda Chinese in Bridge Street (which has since closed) but with an address at Kingsway, Dunmurry, was sentenced to three months in prison.

He was also ordered to be placed on the Sex Offenders register for seven years.

Later in the court Chen’s barrister indicated that he wanted to appeal not only against the sentence, but the conviction as well.

He was released on his own bail of £750 with the conditions he has no contact with the injured party or other witnesses and that he resided at an address in Dungiven.

At a previous court he had pleaded not guilty to two charges that between May 1, 2014, and June 8, 2014, he intentionally touched the girl in a sexual way and she did not consent.

The contest was heard and Chen was convicted. The case was then adjourned until last Wednesday so that a pre-sentence report could be obtained.

The court heard that on June 19, 2014, the injured party attended at Edward Street police station in Portadown claiming she had been treated inappropriately when she worked at his restaurant, the Golden Panda.

She claimed that after a few days working there he had added her on Facebook and then offered her £20 to show him her breasts.

She also alleged that he touched her arms and asked if she ever had sexual intercourse and if she was on any contraception.

The victim said that she was working in the toilets when the defendant blocked her exit and again offered her £20 to show him her breasts.

He also slapped her buttocks on at least three occasions.

On a mid-day to 5pm shift he told her, “I will have sex with you on the next night shift.” She left work and another employee texted her telling her not to come back as she had been sacked.

On June 7 the defendant texted her offering her £20 not to go to the police and the texts continued until there was a final offer of £100.

On October 2 the defendant attended at Lurgan custody suite and denied assaulting the injured party in any way.

He admitted sending the text messages offering the money but claimed this was because he believed the injured party was under 16 years of age and she would report him for employing someone who was underage.

A barrister representing the defendant said that somewhat surprisingly in a pre-sentence report Chen has been assessed at the low end of medium risk of re-offending.

District Judge, Mr Mervyn Bates, who dealt with the contested case, said he heard from the young witness and was very impressed by her evidence.

He added that there were a number of aggravating features in the case – the attempt to bribe the witness, the defendant being in a position of authority, he importuned her on several occasions and touched her inappropriately.

“In my view this crosses the custody threshold and taking into account the aggravating features it will be an immediate custodial sentence,” said Judge Bates.

The defendant was also to be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for seven years but this was suspended pending appeal.