Surfers Paradise restaurant owner fined $284,000 for paying staff $8 an hour

Underpaying workers nearly $60,000 has cost the owner of a Japanese restaurant in Surfers Paradise more than a quarter of a million dollars.

Nine workers at Samurais Paradise were paid as little as $8.00 an hour over four months.

Owner of the business, Shigeo Ishiyama, who formerly operated the Japanese Curry House Kawaii, was criticised by Federal Circuit Court Judge Salvatore Vasta who said the exploitation of the workers was “heinous” and “certainly deliberate”.


Mark Lee from the Fair Work Ombudsman’s office told MyGC the $284,000 fine is one of the top five fines of its kind in Australia this year.

“If you extrapolate that four-month underpayment over the course of a year, as the judge did in this case, that’s an unlawful wage saving of nearly $200,000,” he said.

“It is close to the maximum penalty that’s available for the court to give in this case.

“Originally, when we first came across these  issues they sought to cover them up and hide them, and it wasn’t until we took the matter to court that they admitted the conduct.”

Employers and employees can visit or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance about their rights and obligations while a free interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.