BLACKMAIL demands following a dispute over unwanted peas in a Chinese takeaway meal landed a bullying thug in jail.
Doorman Rafike Riaz repeatedly threatened violence if not given cash, despite already being given £500, and it was only after his threats were caught on CCTV and the police called that his menacing behaviour was stopped.
A court heard that Riaz had initially returned to the Leigh restaurant in a fury complaining that a meal contained peas which he had not wanted and demanding a refund.
He was given the £6.70 refund but then threw the food back covering the staff and the counter with it and the frightened employees threw a small calculator him. Riaz, who smelt strongly of alcohol, started trying to get through the counter hatch and was abusive and shouting.
“He pointed to his nose saying that the calculator had hit him and he wanted £1,000. He said, ‘if you don’t pay me the money, I’ll’ break all your windows and put you out of business,” said Harry Pepper, prosecuting.
The children of owners Yizhong and Fen Jiang,fled in fear to the kitchen and after pleas from the staff, the woman with Riaz dragged him away and they shut the premises.
But the next teatime he returned and aggressively pointed to his nose demanding £500 compensation and repeated his damage threats. The couple agreed to pay but got him to sign a note confirming receipt and that he would not return.
But four days later he was back and lied, claiming his daughter had been hospitalised for three days with food poisoning after eating their food and demanded another £500. They refused his demands but the next night 43-year-old Riaz was back at the premises, the Dragon City in Wigan Road, Leigh, again behaving aggressively. He reduced his demands to £300 saying “paying up or face the consequences”.
He claimed his partner and their two boys had also been ill because of the food. “You don’t know me, I’m dangerous”, he told Mrs Jiang. They again refused his demands and notified the police who tracked him down through the note he signed. When interviewed he denied the claims, saying the Jiangs had paid him £500 to keep quiet about the alleged food poisoning.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that just two months earlier Riaz had been given a community sentence after breaking a man’s leg while working as a bouncer in Bolton.
Judge Clement Goldstone jailed him for two and a half years and demanded prosecution investigations into why Riaz had either been given accreditation to work as a doorman despite his criminal record or allowed to work without it.
He told shaven-headed Riaz that after getting the £500 from the owners his “appetite had been whetted” and he went back for more.
The judge said Riaz had tried to trivialise the incident. “This was appalling behaviour. People are entitled to peace and quiet when they run their business and entitled to be protected from thugs such as you.”
He jailed him for two years for blackmail with six months consecutive for breaching his community order for the grievous bodily harm attack which occurred a year ago. He also ordered him to pay £500 compensation within 18 months and imposed an indefinite restraining order to stay away from the premises and the victims and their family.
Riaz, of Canada Street, Bolton, whose previous convictions include assault, wounding and criminal damage, had pleaded guilty to blackmail.
Martyn Walsh, defending, said that Riaz had not gone round intending to cause trouble but the situation had escalated. “He is thoroughly ashamed and embarrassed.”