40 men in sword gang battle in Chill-Chilli Chinatown restaurant
A BLOODY “straightener” erupted in a Liverpool restaurant between two rival Chinese gangs armed with a sickening arsenal of weapons.
Up to 40 men, some wielding meat-cleavers, hammers, two-foot machetes and a Samurai sword, clashed in Chinatown's Chilli Chilli.
In astonishing scenes the mobs sat together and enjoyed drinks before the ringleader and “referee” signalled with his hand for the fight to begin.
During the violence accomplices guarded the front door of the Nelson Street restaurant to stop customers going in.
Inside the Chinese gangs were viciously slashing and chopping their rivals with sharpened blades .One blood-drenched man was left with four stab wounds to his back.
Another suffered a serious hand injury after one attacker brought the lethal Samurai sword crashing down from above his head.
Yesterday Merseyside Police applied to temporarily close down the restaurant with one officer describing the fight as the “most violent seen in my 25 year career”.
But Liverpool councillors granted Chilli Chilli a reprieve imposing strict conditions ahead of a full hearing in June.
At around 1am on Saturday, May 9, the men went into Chilli Chilli restaurant, then full of diners, and demanded to use the upstairs function room.
Staff explained it was closed.
But the hearing was told the gang threatened them, vowing to bomb the restaurant if they refused.
Reluctantly they allowed them access. And some hours later, at around 3am closing time, the gang came downstairs.
A second gang then entered, and the two groups sat together talking, taking drinks from behind the bar without paying.
Suddenly, at around 4.30am the ringleader gave a clear hand signal and the violence started.
Two terrified members of staff fled to the cellar and hid in fear.
Fighting appeared to continue outside in Nelson Street and a number of cars were damaged.
Two female customers entered Chilli Chilli shortly after, missing the melee by minutes.
The motive behind the chaos remains unclear. But detectives think some sort of turf dispute was the catalyst.
It was also suggested the gangs were made up of illegal immigrants from the North West.
Officers said they were astonished nobody was killed or left with a life-threatening injury.
Licensing officer for Merseyside Police PC Stuart Moore told the committee: “This was an organised gathering with the intention of settling some sort of dispute and the stakes were high.
“They had no respect for anyone in the restaurant and weapons were hidden away in anticipation of a violent incident.
“These were determined criminals, and despite the best efforts of the staff, we need to remove the potential threat to them and prevent this from reoccurring.”
Strict conditions were imposed on Chilli Chilli – an emergency communication system must be installed and an industry-approved doorman employed at the restaurant. THE ECHO