Nightclubs that stop punters from leaving until extortionate bills are paid are guilty of kidnapping, Hungary’s Kuria (Supreme Court) has ruled.
The Kuria on Monday upheld a lower court ruling involving two incidents at the Caligula strip club in Budapest on consecutive days in July 2007.
On the first night, two Dutch tourists received a bill for 179,000 forints (EUR 600). Unable to pay, one was held captive in the nightclub while bouncers escorted to a nearby cash machine to withdraw cash. When they raised objections, one tourist was punched in the stomach and kicked. While he suffered only minor injuries, the court said the harassment could have easily resulted in graver harm.
On the next day, two Mexican and a US citizen received a bill for 377,000 forints after drinking three beers. Even though they paid 300 euros, two of them were not allowed to leave until the third one returned with more cash. According to news website Index, they were eventually forced to pay more than 500,000 forints.
Last September, the Budapest appeals court sentenced club manager Maria Anna T to 3 years and a half years imprisonment. A bouncer received a suspended sentence for kidnapping. They both appealed against the ruling, stating that their actions could not be interpreted as kidnapping.