Bloody lingerie bar stabbing connected to smoking ban
Police say they are closing in on two men allegedly involved in a bloody, drunken brawl over a smoking ban at a Sydney CBD lingerie bar which left a bartender fighting for life with stab wounds after a "violent" attack.
Detectives allege a group of five men were drinking in the Concourse Bar at Wynyard Station around 6pm on Thursday when a member of staff asked them to refrain from smoking in a non-smoking area and a petty dispute erupted.
NSW Police Acting Superintendent Paul Dunstan says the squabble escalated "extremely quickly and violently" with a brawl erupting before one man allegedly produced a knife and "thrashed it around" and stabbed the 32-year-old male employee in the back twice.
"The men had consumed alcohol and when staff intervened there was some push and shove and for reasons unknown the man [allegedly] produced a knife and in a rather aggressive and double roundhouse motion stabbed him twice," he said. "It was an extremely serious incident."
Paramedics treated the 32-year-old worker at the bar, which is known for its scantily clad waitresses and cheap beer, before he was taken to St Vincent's Hospital in a critical condition. Paramedics say he was "in a pretty bad way" when they arrived but he has since stabilised in hospital.
Another man in his 30s was also rushed to hospital in a stable condition with head wounds.
A witness says he heard chaotic scenes erupt.
"I saw the ambulance going out with someone in a stretcher … It was chaos. There was a lot of commotion," the witness said.
"Police were trying to control the scene, two officers came in and then another two because they were outnumbered at first."
The five men left the scene and police found three of them nearby. The trio was arrested and taken to Surry Hills Police Station where a 31-year-old man from Carlton was charged with assault and affray. He was refused bail and will appear at Central Local Court today.
A 29-year-old man from Narwee was charged with affray. He was granted conditional bail to appear before Downing Centre Local Court on November 26. A third man, a 34-year-old man from Ridgewood in Western Australia, was issued a Criminal Infringement Notice for offensive language.
police are still searching for another two men, including say they are closing in on the "main offender," a 19-year-old man from western Sydney who left his driver's license at the venue.
Detectives are poring over CCTV footage which captured the man leaving the scene from inside Wynyard station.
"We strongly encourage that gentleman to hand himself into his local police station," A/Supt Dunstan said.
Bar licensee Rob Di Francesco said: "the incident that occurred this evening is currently under investigation by Sydney City Police Area Command and in order to assist them we are unable to make any comments".
NSW Ambulance Inspector Kay Armstrong says paramedics were preparing for the worst when they were called to the scene.
"There can be more to a stabbing than appears at first glance, so it is very worrying whenever we are called to incidents like these.
"Our paramedics did an exceptional job in stabilising and providing treatment for this man who had suffered some pretty serious injuries."
Originally published as Bloody lingerie bar stabbing over smoking ban