Man's ear slashed in Albion Park Rail attack

Wollongong police made eight arrests and laid 15 charges across the weekend for alcohol-related behaviour during Operation Unite. 

A Barrack Heights man almost had his ear cut off in an alleged glassing attack during a 21st birthday party at Albion Park Rail on Friday night.

On the first night of the Australia-wide Operation Unite police blitz, Lake Illawarra police were called to a Princes Highway pub about 10pm following reports a man had been king-hit and glassed.

They found a 21-year-old Barrack Heights woman, celebrating her birthday, who had allegedly been punched in the mouth by a man holding a glass bottle and suffered a cut upper lip.

Police then found the 28-year-old man who had allegedly been struck with the bottle, causing a severe laceration to his right ear.

A 25-year-old Balgownie man and a 28-year-old Corrimal man were arrested and charged with assault and affray.

They were released on conditional bail and will appear in Albion Park Local Court on January 8.

Nine people were issued $550 infringement notices for failing to leave a venue during Saturday’s Santa Claus Pub Crawl. Wollongong Police Inspector Phil O’Neil said  ‘‘a few minor assaults’’ were recorded, including one on a female constable who was pushed over.

‘‘Overall, we were happy with behaviour and the event went off without significant dramas,’’ he said.

A 28-year-old man from Koonawarra was charged with theft of a vehicle and number plate offences and will appear in court early next year, while Lake Illawarra police charged a 29-year-old Kiama man with supply of ecstasy.

Across NSW, 540 people were arrested and 1062 charges laid.

While most revellers behaved themselves, Insp O’Neil said police would be out in force during the busy holiday period.

‘‘We don’t want to spoil fun, it’s to help people have a good night for their own safety,’’ he said. ‘‘In the lead-up to Christmas, we will continue random breath testing through the region.’’

Arrest and charges statistics across the state are on par with last year’s Operation Unite, with 548arrests and 966 charges laid during the 2012 crackdown.

Police are investigating the Albion Park Rail incident and have called for witnesses to contact Crime Stoppers or Lake Illawarra police station.

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Opposition warns state must curb alcohol violence

More young people’s lives will be ruined by alcohol-fuelled violence unless the NSW government stands up to the liquor lobby, the opposition says.

Drunken violence is the worst it has ever been in the state – but it can be reduced by restricting alcohol availability, opposition health spokesman Andrew McDonald says.

‘‘I have spent 40 years working in the health system and I know no-one has ever seen such dreadful violence ever in living memory,’’ Dr McDonald said yesterday.

After a weekend in which 540 people were arrested in NSW during Operation Unite – a police crackdown on alcohol-fuelled violence across Australia and New Zealand – the opposition is laying the blame firmly at the government’s door.

‘‘This government does not have the guts to stand up to the liquor lobby,’’ Dr McDonald said.

‘‘Until this problem is sorted, these assaults will continue and we will see innocent lives ruined.’’

The NSW opposition wants the government to implement a plan to tackle alcohol-related harm, which includes 1am lockouts in the Sydney CBD and the Kings Cross area. AAP

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