Police entered the head office of Western Sydney-based fast food chain Rashays on Thursday afternoon and arrested owner Rami Ykmour over a face mask dispute, despite the fact that he was wearing one himself. The chain responded by recording the whole thing and streaming it live on Facebook.
Rashays is headquartered in the Southwest Sydney suburb of Chester Hill – the same part of Sydney that NSW Police are deploying over 100 extra cops to in order to enforce lockdown restrictions.
Police arrived on the scene after receiving an anonymous tip-off call that up to 30 people in the office weren’t wearing masks. Current lockdown restrictions in NSW stipulate that masks must be worn in indoors workplaces. The company denies that this many people weren’t wearing masks.
“We had an officer come in and he spotted two people without a mask on, and they were eating, they’ve got a drink,” Ykmour said during the 30-minute recording.
He, all employees and the police themselves all wore masks throughout the video.
The dispute became heated when Ykmour refused to provide police with the ID of certain staff members.
“He’s here for trouble, it’s obvious,” the Rashays founder added.
“He could easily say, ‘put your mask on, I’m going guys’.”
As the dispute escalated, at least eight cops eventually crowded into the building’s foyer.
One of the receptionists began to panic and Rashays staff attempted to call an ambulance.
The livestream of the incident quickly went viral on social media overnight, and it’s already clocked over half a million views on Facebook alone.
In a statement posted on Facebook shortly afterwards, Rashays stated: “The two girls are our call centre team who are taking calls and eating to keep the business open. We are struggling. Rami understands [NSW Police are] doing their job but be considerate and offer the two young girls a warning before fining them. We have worked so hard to maintain COVID-safe.”
The Daily Telegraph reports Ykmour was ultimately taken to Parramatta Police Station, where he was charged with hindering police investigations into alleged non-compliance with the public health order. He’s set to face court next month.
7News reports the two staff members were slapped with $200 fines.
While Ykmour was being frisked against the police van, the woman behind the camera, who referred to herself as his assistant, remarked: “And that’s ‘cos they blame the West.”