SEVERAL politicians have urged the NSW Government to extend restrictions for alcohol use in Sydney’s Oxford St precinct after another person was the victim of a ‘king hit’ assault last night.
A 38-year-old man was left in a critical but stable condition after he was the victim of an unprovoked assault by another man following a verbal argument inside the Hungry Jack’s fast food restaurant on Oxford St at about 10.45pm yesterday.
The news comes as police prepare to be out on force on Oxford St – where most of Sydney’s LGBTI-friendly bars and clubs are located – this weekend as part of an ongoing operation targeting anti-social and drunken behaviour.
According to police, witnesses reported that as the 38-year-old man was leaving, the other unidentified man punched him to the side of head, causing the victim to fall to the ground.
It is believed the attacker then fled in a taxi while the victim was transported to St Vincent’s Hospital where he remains in intensive care.
Sydney state independent MP Alex Greenwich said last night’s unprovoked assault was yet another reason for the NSW Government to extend the liquor freeze on Oxford St beyond its current term ending on December 24 as well as to establish an inquiry into alcohol-related violence.
“The government has extended the liquor freeze on new venues in Kings Cross, and should do the same for Oxford St. We need to ensure that the alcohol-fueled violence is dealt with effectively and not relocated to Oxford Street,” he said.
“From advertising and licence restrictions to increasing policing and compliance resources, a parliamentary inquiry will help us work towards real solutions for what is a growing community concern.”
Over the last 18 months, there have been a number of high-profile ‘king-hit’-type attacks in Sydney’s CBD, including the death of teenager Thomas Kelly in Kings Cross in July 2012 and the bashing of inner-city bouncer Fadi Taiba.
Last weekend, 23-year-old Michael McEwen was bashed and had his head stomped on after being attacked by a group of strangers at Bondi Beach.
Speaking after last night’s violence, Inspector Grant Lister from NSW Police told the ABC that attack was part of an emerging pattern of violence.
“It’s a disturbing trend which we’ve got to get on top of,” he said.
Police will be out in force on Oxford St, The Rocks, George St and Kings Cross all of this weekend as part of the continuing Operation Rushmore targeting anti-social behaviour.
More than 250 officers will be deployed this Friday and Saturday nights in the entertainment hotspots. They will also to be supported by personnel from Fire and Rescue NSW, Transport for NSW, the City of Sydney Council, the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, Family and Community Services, and the NSW Taxi Council.
Surry Hills LAC Tony Crandell, who is heading up this weekend’s Operation Rushmore, said police will be doing as much as they can during the busy holiday period but it was important for people in the community, their friends and their families to remember that they too had responsibility to watch out for their loved ones before they potentially find themselves in trouble with the law.
“Police will be out in force this weekend, and over the entire Christmas and New Year period, with a number of operations planned to combat alcohol-related violence throughout the city,” he said.
“Nevertheless, we need to remind people that they are responsible for their own behaviour. We cannot be everywhere at once.
“Do the right thing by your family, your friends and other members of the community – take care of yourself when you are having a night out, and get home safe and sound.”