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Owner of ‘No Blacks’ Chinese eatery fined Sh380,000

A Chinese hotelier who was embroiled in a racist row after discriminating against African patrons on Monday pleaded guilty of operating a restaurant without a valid licence.

Ms Esther Zhao Yang also pleaded guilty of engaging in employment without a valid permit.

Ms Zhao, who had formerly denied the charges, on Monday changed her plea before a criminal court in Nairobi.

And following her own plea of guilty, the court ordered her to pay a fine of Sh380,000 failure to which she should be jailed for 18 months.


The court heard that on March 23 while officials from the Tourism Regulatory Authority were making routine patrols within Kilimani area in Nairobi, they stumbled on Ms Zhao while inspecting and licensing several tourism establishments.

Prosecutor Daniel Karuri told the court that a majority of clients at the restaurant were Oriental.

He said the team was directed to Ms Zhao and they informed her the purpose of their visit was to inspect the premises with a view to ascertaining standards of service, comfort, general hygiene and to verify where it operated within the law.

“On the issue of inspection, Ms Zhao took the team on a tour of the restaurant and it was observed that it had various shortcomings and she was directed to take remedial measures,’ the prosecutor said.


He said the restaurant is located in a private house which had been converted for hotel use and that it had several other Chinese directors.

The restaurant came under the spotlight at the beginning of the year after the Nation ran an expose over the discrimination of blacks at the premise.

Ms Zhao reportedly said she had a ‘No Blacks’ policy barring black patrons.

She, however, later denied this.