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Sydney club hits out at 'over the top' police operation

'I don't know any other type of business or industry that gets treated so poorly'

  • 29 May 2017

Management at Sydney's Club 77 has hit out at a heavy police operation that targeted the venue at the weekend.

Police officers and a sniffer dog entered the Kings Cross club on Saturday night and allegedly stripped searched patrons and found no illicit substances.

Posting to Facebook, club owner Matty Bicket wrote "police and a sniffer dog arrived at club 77 last night storming the venue, 0 arrests were made, 0 drugs were found. Our headline act from Melbourne was searched and barred from the club for the evening (even though he had done nothing wrong except have a lot of tattoos or something). he was unable to play his set."

Bicket writes that one person was allegedly tasered for refusing to comply with police, a claim that the force has denied, while club management was ignored.

"The police then visited our humble venue again, sitting at the front door intimidating and acting as RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) marshals telling us who were intoxicated and dragging people out of the club yet again," he wrote.

"I'm running a fucking business, I pay tax and I work extremely hard to hold onto what we have here to keep a culture, I don't deserve to be bullied and treated like a fucking criminal. I don't know any other type of business or industry that gets treated so poorly."

Anti-lockouts and Sydney nightlife advocacy group Keep Sydney Open also weighed in on social media.

"Just when a little confidence in Sydney's nightlife starts to build, NSW Police pull a stunt like this. We need to have a very serious conversation about police conduct and their use of taxpayer-funded resources," they wrote.

Several websites report that, when contacted, New South Wales Police stated "police conducted a proactive operation, utilising a police drug detection dog, in the Kings Cross Local Area Command last night which lead to 13 drug detections. 9 of these were issued court attendance notices for drug possession and 3 issued a cannabis caution." But the Club 77 operation is not mentioned.

Sydney's nightlife has been constantly under threat since early lockout and last drinks laws were introduced in the city centre in February 2014. Critics say the New South Wales government and police force are too heavy handed in their approach to recreational drugs in the community and clubs are unfairly targeted.

Read Matty Bicket's full Facebook post below.

Scott Carbines is Mixmag's Australian Digital Content Editor, follow him on Twitter