By Cam Lucadou-Wells
A registered sex offender has pleaded guilty to hiring four teenage girls at his Beaconsfield restaurant without notifying police.
Anton Mai, who owns Tulip Thai restaurant, faced Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on five charges of failing to comply with his reporting obligations.
Mai was registered as a sex offender for life, with two prior convictions for breaching reporting requirements in 2015, the court heard.
On the latest charges, he failed to disclose that his restaurant hired a 15-year-old and three 16-year-old girls between November 2015 and March 2017.
Mai, who represented himself, told the court on 11 September that his wife was “always the supervisor”.
He had also failed to notify police of a delay in coming home from a trip to the US in late November.
Mai had told police he’d return on Christmas Day.
He emailed them with plans for a 17-day extension to his trip only after police made inquiries with his family on 5 January.
In a later police interview at Pakenham, Mai said he had been unable to travel home as planned due to not having a valid visa, the court was told.
It had been due to “an error and a mistake”, he told police.
Mai was registered for life on the state’s sexual offenders’ registry after being found guilty of offences in Dandenong Magistrates’ Court in 2008, the court heard.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Jaimie Jeffs told the court that since then, Mai had reported multiple changes of personal circumstances, such as business details, internet service providers and travel plans.
Magistrate David Starvaggi said Mai faced possible jail if he again breached his reporting obligations.
“You need to understand that this is incredibly important legislation and it’s important you comply with it.”
Mai was convicted and placed on a 12-month community corrections order with 150 hours of unpaid work.