Police have confirmed that they are investigating an incident in which a group of 4 young Canadian men were involved in a fight with security personnel at Bratislava's Mamut pub on Thursday, May 6. The conflict left one of the Canadians requiring hospital treatment for facial lacerations and damage to his teeth, according to information obtained by The Slovak Spectator.
The man who sustained the injuries, reportedly named Jesse Semko, filed criminal charges for assault against "unknown attackers" at the bar. The young visitors left Slovakia for Vienna early on May 7.
Police officials at the Bratislava I District station on Sasinková Street refused to comment on the case, but Interior Ministry spokesman Jozef Sitár confirmed on May 12 that the police had already begun an investigation of the May 6 beatings. "The other side [Mamut security guards] has been interrogated as well," he said.
A security guard at Mamut, questioned by The Slovak Spectator on May 11, said he was aware of the incident, but accused the Canadians of starting the fight by striking a Mamut employee in the mouth. "If they come back here they'll get more of the same," the security guard said. "I don't know why they're sending reporters after us now."
When asked if any of the security personnel involved in the dispute could be interviewed, the guard said "they're not here. They're all on holiday."
Klaus Tiefenbrunner, consul at the Canadian Embassy in Prague, which has responsibility for Slovakia, said on May 11 he had not heard of the incident. Tiefenbrunner expressed concern, but said "there is nothing we can do" until contacted by the victims.
Elisabeth Magneau, consular assistant at the Canadian Embassy in Vienna, also denied any knowledge of the fight.
Ľubomír Marček, co-owner of Mamut, told The Slovak Spectator on May 12 that he could not comment on the incident since it was under investigation. He did say, however, that the security service used by Mamut - Kasko s.r.o - "has so far never had a criminal charge filed against its employees."
Kasko s.r.o. could not be reached for comment. An answering machine message at the firm - which shares the same address at Cintorinská Street 32 as Mamut - asked that messages be left for "Mamut Super Bingo."
Asked if the security services employed by many larger Bratislava pubs were frequently involved in violent attacks on pub patrons, the Interior Ministry's Sitár said that "yes, it happens often. These security guards often attack citizens physically, but the problem is that few citizens file charges. It depends on how injured they are, but most people don't lay charges if they only get kicked or get a black eye."
17. May 1999 at 0:00 | Tom Nicholson, Spectator Staff