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  • Gav Munro

Irish Pub Brawl- So cliched!

So I got into a pub brawl here in China the other night, Thursday night to be specific it was bizarre so I thought I'd tap down the events for the record. This account has been checked and corroborated by 4 witnesses who saw the whole incident.

So I was working at my latest exhibition until 10pm and afterwards myself and my girlfriend Juliet (remember the 'By Candlelight painting? That's her) decided to go for a drink. As we went out late the pub we went to was already busy and loose. We met a French mate of mine and his girlfriend and we were two drinks in when things started to go pear-shaped. The French couple left the table leaving Juliet and I facing each other talking about the people who came to the exhibition that night.

Minutes later a big and very drunk Chinese guy came over and sat next to Juliet and was making not much sense but was throwing his arms all over her, hitting on her and making a nob out of himself. Now I know Juliet can handle herself so I decided to watch as she told him to go away and that she was with her boyfriend. 'You have a foreign boyfriend?' he asked and then piped up with some racist nonsense about dating foreigners. In China there exists a small group of Chinese men that have a real chip on their shoulders about Chinese girls who go out with foreigners. Armed with this new information, he got up and sat next to me.

Now we were supposed to be out for a 'quiet drink' so I wasn't looking forward to this guys drunken bollocks of a conversation. he sat down next to me and was shouting in very bad English 'DRINK, I WANT DRINK!' and then pointed at Juliet and said 'SHUT UP! WOMEN SHOULD NOT TALK!' I told him to go away but he just carried on. Now I couldn't walk away cos he'd penned me in on the bench that I was sat on. The pub owner saw all this but did nothing.

After about 10 minutes of this arsehole screaming down my ear with his arm around me and him getting more and more aggressive towards me and Juliet I decided to take him outside with the view to directing him towards the exit and a taxi. I was walking through the door when he pushed me from behind and I fell to the floor and banged my head on the floor. he then jumped on top of me kicking me in the face and ribs (and this was a big fella). He looked kinda out of control so I was defending myself and trying to block him from landing a punch on my face (as my head was on the concrete). He landed a few blows to my eye and ribs, nothing that was that effective.

After some time people started to come out of the pub to se what was going on. A few friends and Juliet then tried to pull him off me, I was still on the floor when I saw Juliet be thrown down to the floor from a shove from him, she banged her head and knees pretty badly. That got me mad so we managed to get the guy back into the bar where he was knocked about by some people that were trying to stop him ranting and throwing punches around. We managed to control him and we then asked the management of the pub to call the police.

Here was he strange thing. The owner of the bar, a Chinese woman said to my girlfriend 'What are you complaining about? He didn't rape you!' and other racist stuff about getting used to beatings if she's going out with an English man (WTF???!!). Juliet and I carried on asking for the police to come and arrest this maniac, she refused so we left.

When we got home we examined the cut and bruises and assessed the situation, As we'd both got head injuries we thought there was a good chance that we'd need to go get checked out at the hospital. Now in China it's a mix of public/private healthcare so you have to pay a little $100-200 for an assessment and treatment. In a fight or an accident situation the police here decide who pays what to who. We decided to call the landlady and request the guy was arrested so we could claim any hospital fees from him. She told us to 'keep quiet' as it was 'bad for business' and insinuated that the guy was rich customer and she would lose money, she's ended up losing a lot more than that. I didn't want to press charges about my incident but I wanted to prosecute him for assaulting Juliet, I think that most people agree that violence against women from a big guy is intolerable.

After several requests and no cooperation at all we decided to sleep on it for a few hours. When we woke up and the dust settled we asked the bar again and was told to 'shut up' and how I was a 'f@£ker' by the owner (she's a charmer).

The lovely response after I requested the guy's name

The foreign staff were also getting involved with the threats, now I'd understand the foreign staff keeping quiet (visa complications etc) but for them to actively participate in the threats was a shocker.

The only member of staff that witnessed the whole thing was told not to support us, she did and she was fired a few days later.

We decided to mention the incident in a few chat groups to try to ID the guy so we could press charges ourselves. We also wanted to make sure people were aware of him and this bar so this (or something worse) wouldn't happen to someone else's girlfriend again.

The overwhelmingly supportive response by the local Chinese and expat community was incredible. Between myself and Juliet we received over 100 messages from well wishers and a few possible suspects. The bar were requested to provide the guy's name and once again refused to cooperate, blaming us for the incident that 4 witnesses had seen.

I had a stall on an art market to organise so the last thing I needed was a long, drawn out fight with the venue but as they weren't being helpful I gathered up witnesses and CCTV requests. I also arranged to go back to the bar at 5pm and try and reason with the management to check the CCTV, which they did reluctantly and came back to me with 'no external cameras caught the initial outside incident and only a distant far away internal camera caught the incident when we were trying to defend ourselves as we took the guy back inside.

I took a witness to the bar and together with the management we discussed it and they apologised and accepted their mistakes. They also confirmed that the owner had exacerbated the situation and made it a lot worse. I accepted their apology and told them to keep searching the CCTV and let me know when they could send me a photo ID of the guy that we could give to the police. I agreed that I would publicly post that they'd been helpful if I got this.

So, I then went to my art exhibition at the Kerry centre and kinda forgot all about it. After a few hours painting I got a blackmail, very thinly veiled threat that unless I posted something that said that the bar was helpful and that we were wrong they would press charges against me and Juliet....see below:

So if we go into the online chats and say that we made the whole thing up she wouldn't press charges of us starting the fight!

We spoke to the management that sent me this message last night and requested that she retracted and apologised for this message and we'd forget about it, she didn't.

So I just wanted to put this down for the record. You'll notice I've not mentioned the name of the pub or personnel involved.

I just want this to go away now but we already have enough witnesses willing to testify that not only did the pub not do anything to stop the incident, they in fact made it worse. We also have a few suspects photos that we're investigating with the view to passing them to the police.

All this has been about is bringing the guy to justice so this won't happen again, lying on the floor and seeing your girlfriend get thrown down like a rag doll sticks in the memory, I'd hate it to happen to you.

A very similar incident happened at the same pub about a year ago with my Irish mate and his girlfriend. Some rich Chinese local got all handsy with her, my mate defended his girlfriend (now wife), then my mate was told by the management to keep quiet as the Chinese guy was a good customer.

What next? We're expecting a full apology soon which I'll publish if we get one. Time will tell, watch this space!

Thanks again to all the support we've received by our fantastic friends.

UPDATE: The silly threats keep appearing on social media, This one's from Sue (here English name), who is a shareholder at the pub. This was posted on my wall, so obviously just a public show:

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