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Nanaimo bar owner honoured for promoting drug awareness

Supt. Mark Fisher, Nanaimo RCMP detachment commander, presents Jerry Hong, owner of the Oxy Pub, Queen’s Hotel and Spice Lounge, with a certificate of appreciation last week. Hong was recognized for his role in helping police educate patrons and staff of the city’s pubs about GHB, the date rape drug, after several women were slipped the drug in their drinks in October. - CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin
Supt. Mark Fisher, Nanaimo RCMP detachment commander, presents Jerry Hong, owner of the Oxy Pub, Queen’s Hotel and Spice Lounge, with a certificate of appreciation last week. Hong was recognized for his role in helping police educate patrons and staff of the city’s pubs about GHB, the date rape drug, after several women were slipped the drug in their drinks in October.
— image credit: CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Jerry Hong, owner of the Oxy Pub, Queen’s Hotel and Spice Lounge, received his second certificate of appreciation from Nanaimo RCMP this last week.

The presentation was made at the Nanaimo RCMP detachment by Supt. Mark Fischer June 23.

Hong was cited for his role in helping police educate the public and his staff about the dangers of GHB, otherwise known as the date rape drug.

The program stemmed from several incidents in October when women’s drinks were spiked in local nightclubs. In each case the women became dizzy, confused and nauseous within 15 minutes of consuming their drinks. Hong partnered with police to put up posters in his clubs warning about the incidents and who victims could call if they suspected their drinks were spiked.

“The staff began wearing T-shirts [bearing the GHB warnings], which further spread the word,” Smith said.

Hong also conducted media interviews to help get the word out and hosted a Crime Stoppers re-enactment of the crimes in one of his clubs featuring 17 local actors.

“Jerry’s participation, leadership and commitment on furthering this issue was instrumental to not only protecting his patrons, but stopping any further incidents from occurring in Nanaimo,” Fisher said.

Hong said he did have concerns going into the campaign that his establishments could be branded unsafe, which would harm business, but that never came to pass and customers now are more cautious with their drinks.

“It was a tough call, but when it comes to public safety there’s some stuff where you have to take the bad with the good,” Hong said. “People who know us and our establishment know that’s not what we’re about and the ones that don’t know us aren’t the ones coming out anyway, so it makes a huge difference to make everyone aware that it can happen anywhere.”

Since the campaign, no complaints of spiked drinks have been officially filed with police, said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. There have been at least two instances that have occurred and the victims will not file complaints.

No suspects have been arrested for the drink-spiking incidents in October.

This is the second time Hong has received an appreciation certificate from the RCMP. He was previously cited for tackling a man who robbed a Quizno’s sandwich restaurant at Country Club Centre in November 2011.

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