Kenyan official: Chinese restaurant closed after reports that it refused to serve Africans

IndustriesAssociated Press

Kenyan authorities closed a Chinese restaurant in the capital which was accused by a local newspaper of refusing to serve Africans.

The restaurant known as the Chinese Restaurant will remain shut because it does not have a business permit or a valid liquor license and it has not complied with the public health requirements for food handling and testing, a statement from Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero late Tuesday said.

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Kidero urged business owners to treat customers and clients fairly irrespective of race. On Monday, Kenya's leading newspaper, The Daily Nation, reported that the restaurant did not allow Africans entry after 5 p.m. The newspaper quoted a manager of the restaurant saying Africans pose a security threat to its Chinese patrons. The story has caused outrage on social media.

Esther Zhao, the restaurant manager, said the patrons feel safer and more comfortable if there are no African patrons, according to the newspaper.

"We don't admit Africans that we don't know because you never know who is al-Shabab and who isn't," Zhao was quoted saying. Al-Shabab is an Islamic extremist group in Somalia that has carried out a string of violent attacks in Kenya as retribution for the Kenyan troop presence in Somalia.

The decision to deny access to Africans was reached in 2014 after a gang posing as patrons robbed the restaurant and its clients, said Zaho in the newspaper article.

Zhao Yang, believed to be the owner of the restaurant, was arrested for the lack of licenses but was released on a police bond, according to police charge sheet. He was expected to be charged with the offenses Wednesday afternoon.