1 min

Bijou customers fear cops?

Owner Craig Anderson says he shut down The Bijou of his own free will on Jan 25 because the place was empty.

“I did it myself, because people were too afraid to come, afraid of the police.”

Anderson says he has no clue whether any charges will be laid by police in last month’s visits (there were at least two drop-ins) – though he says he hasn’t personally received notification of anything.

“I don’t know. That’s why I really can’t say anything. It’s really in the hands of the lawyer.”

Anderson’s been threatened with a liquor act charge of allowing rowdy behaviour – or in legal parlance, permitting disorderly conduct in a licensed premise. Two officers claimed they saw a man going down on another back in January.

Liquor act charges dating from a series of 1999 raids continue winding their way through the bureaucracy.

Anderson hopes to re-open in March, after giving up his liquor licence – but insists that’s no big deal, because customers didn’t come to The Bijou porn theatre, and now to the Bijou bathhouse, in order to drink.

Nevertheless, routine liquor licence inspections are the reason cited by police for their repeated visits to The Bijou. Eighteen indecency charges against customers were filed in the summer; all were dropped later by the city’s chief Crown attorney. Paul Culver, however, called the stunt a one-time deal, and threatened that there would no amnesty for gay men caught in compromising positions in the future.

Anderson is catty. “They keep saying it was indecent acts in the presence of a beer can. That doesn’t make sense. It’s ludicrous.”

The Bijou is under renovation, with cubicles being built (police have said that sex behind closed cubicle doors is private and legal). The re-opening is expected in March with the bathhouse renamed The New Bijou (after a brief flirtation with the name The Maxx). Anderson says the notoriety of the old name will help business.

He doesn’t know if the new no-booze policy and the renos will stop police from hassling customers. And the famous Slurp Ramp is out of action (it’s a wall of glory holes that police officers kept on visiting – over and over).

Supt Aiden Maher, head of 52 Division, is on holiday until the beginning of March. Neither of the two officers running the division returned Xtra’s call.