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Hong Kong bars win court battle to allow smokers

The Sun Daily

Hong Kong (Oct 9, 2008) : Hong Kong’s city-wide anti-smoking drive was facing a serious setback Thursday after three popular bars won a court ruling that may allow them to let smokers back indoors.

The bars successfully argued in the High Court that health inspectors were wrong to ban them from allowing smokers inside on the basis that they make most of their money from serving food not drink.

Currently, only bars that make most of their money from drink sales are allowed to admit smokers while those that make most of their money from serving food are not.

At a hearing Wednesday, The Bull and Bear in Wan Chai, Sticky Fingers in Tsim Sha Tsui and Biztro in Central all had the findings of the health inspectors overturned on the basis that they visited at lunchtime only.

Scores more bars which have been forced to evict smokers on the basis that their main business is food may now be able to challenge the health inspectors’ findings.

The High Court ordered a new hearing into the status of the three bars and whether they should or should not be allowed to let people smoke inside.

Smoking was banned in all Hong Kong restaurants and bars at the beginning of 2007 but nightclubs and bars making most of their revenue through drink sales were exempted until June 2009. — dpa

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