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For all the reasons you could land you before a Magistrate, refusing to kill cockroaches has surely got to be one of the strangest.

But this is exactly what happened to one restaurant owner after he refused to do anything about the cockroach infestation in his restaurant, due to moral objections.

Owner Khanh Hoang is a passionate animal-lover and owner of the award-winning Kingsland Vegetarian Restaurant in the ACT.

And staying true to his beliefs, he could not bring himself to kill the little critters, even though he knew that many had taken up residence in his kitchen.

Instead, photographs used in court showed both dead and live cockroaches surrounding the kitchen, including the cooking equipment.

But cockroaches were not the only problem.

Other health issues included a toilet that opened right into the kitchen, a missing hot water tap handle resulting in dishes being washed with cold water only, uncovered food stored in the dishwasher, and cooking surfaces covered in grease, dirt and faeces.

In an interview with Health Protection Services, Hoang admitted knowing about the cockroach problem and doing nothing about it. Shocked inspectors had no choice but to shut the restaurant down the very next day.

However, the restaurant opened again after just 6 days, when Hoang finally relented and got the place cleaned up.

But he still had to face the Magistrate after being charged with 12 separate breaches of the ACT Food Act, and pleading guilty to eight of them.

Hoang’s lawyer told the Magistrate that his client was a passionate vegan whose priorities had been compromised by his morals. He impressed the Magistrate with photos of the now immaculate kitchen.

But Hoang still got a $16,000 fine, with one year to pay it off.

A reformed Hoang has gone on to win more awards, and now regularly engages a pest control company and even has a food safety supervisor.

What is the law in NSW?

In NSW, regulations for the preparation and sale of food are governed by the Food Act 2013, the Food Regulation 2010 and the Food Standards Code.

Most breaches are dealt with by fines, which can be issued on the spot or after being sent to court.

The NSW Food Authority is responsible for ensuring compliance with food safety regulations within the state.

The Authority even has a name and shame register, where businesses that have breached food safety requirements are listed.

One Indian takeaway restaurant was fined almost $100,000 in Downing Centre Local Court after inspectors found cockroaches, dead rats, rat faeces and rat nests in the kitchen.

The restaurant pleaded guilty to all 13 of the charges brought against them.

It was listed on the name and shame register, along with many of Sydney’s most popular and ritziest restaurants.

Ugur Nedim About Ugur Nedim
Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Specialist Criminal Lawyer and Principal at Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Sydney’s Leading Firm of Criminal & Traffic Defence Lawyers.

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