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Oceana faces closure after council vote to revoke licence

By River Reporter Nov 20, 2012

The council decision on Tuesday followed the killing last month of Jamie Sanderson at the Luminar-owned club, the second stabbing at Kingston’s Oceana this year.
The council said: “The history of the premises over the last two years shows that the revocation is the only responsible approach to what we’ve heard today.”
Oceana has been given 21 days to appeal against the council’s decision and it will remain open until the appeal has been heard.
The councillors took into consideration the high number of crimes related to Oceana, as well as complaints from local residents.
Toby Marshal, operating manager of Oceana, said: “This decision comes as a shock, we didn’t think this was going to happen. I will be talking to our chief executive before making any further decisions.”
Oceana Kingston’s crime ranking
During Tuesday’s hearing, the Metropolitan Police revealed statistics that showed how Oceana was ranked number one out of 50 nightclubs for crime incidents in and around London.
Kingston’s Oceana, which is the biggest Oceana nightclub in the UK, was closed for 14 days after the death of Mr Sanderson in October.
On November 12 Hoopong Wong, 25, was found guilty of stabbing Karlos Federick five times in Oceana Kingston. The victim did not die from his injuries.
Oceana tried to put on a good show on the night of their re-opening on November 9, with a 50 per cent discount on all drinks.
New ID scanner system
They had also incorporated the new SafeNet ID scan technology and airport-like security checks as well as increasing the number of bouncers and the police presence outside the club.
However, after looking at Oceana’s poor record, the councillors saw this as too little too late and removed Kingston’s most popular nightclub’s licence.
The police were united in their opinion that Oceana should shut down.
A Metropolitan policeman present at the meeting said: “The level of crime remains high and I think closure is the only option.”
During the meeting a spokesman speaking on behalf of the Metropolitan Police said: “If you compare offences to other premises in Kingston, Oceana has more than the other premises combined.”
Oceana’s previous criminal incidents
Oceana has had previous criminal incidents including a man having his ear bitten off, an attack by teenagers which left a man in a coma and a group of thieves who went on a mobile theft spree from women’s handbags.
However, the lapses in security that led to two of the most serious and violent crimes that any Kingston club has suffered in recent years was too much for Oceana to bounce back from. 
Luminar’s official statement
Luminar said in an official statement on Tuesday: “The death of a customer in our club was tragic, but the safety and security of our customers is and always has been our main priority and that’s why the outcome of today’s licensing hearing decision is so disappointing.
“We would like to stress that the club has one of the most sophisticated search and security procedures in the UK, which proved invaluable to the police investigation and led to the arrest and charging of three people.
“Since the incident, we have conducted a further review of security systems and look forward to continuing to work closely with the local Kingston community, licensing and police teams to maintain the safest possible environment for our customers.”
Unhappy responses
The closure of Oceana created some unhappy responses.
Kelsey Lashmar wrote on The River’s Facebook page: “Never have I felt unsafe in Oceana and I think it’s a shame for all the students who have such good nights there! Where will I go on a Wednesday now?”

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