More than 100 dead after drinking toxic alcohol

Apr 13, 2018, 01:54
More than 100 dead after drinking toxic alcohol

More than 50 Indonesians have died and many have been become sick and hospitalised since last week after consuming homemade alcohol tainted with various ingredients including mosquito repellent, authorities said on Tuesday.

It comes after a crackdown on the sale of legal alcohol led to a boost in black market sales, which could be corrupted with methanol.

The deaths occurred in several parts of the provinces of Jakarta and West Java, according to the National Police.

Isaac Roberts right accompanied by his partner Lloyd and his lawyer Sieny during his rehab at Sanur
Isaac Roberts right accompanied by his partner Lloyd and his lawyer Sieny during his rehab at Sanur

At the press conference, the police presented six suspects of the seven arrested in Jakarta for selling adulterated alcohol, which according to laboratory analysis, contained methanol.

"This is a insane phenomenon that has caused tremendous loss for the public in the past week", deputy national police chief Syafruddin told Reuters. "If we let it continue, it will harm the nation", he added.

The World Health Organization estimated in 2014 that five times as much illicit alcohol is being consumed in Indonesia compared to legitimate, recorded supplies, it says, calling for a reduction in taxes and tariffs, public awareness campaigns and - arguably counterintuitively - increasingly strict licensing requirements for authorised sellers.

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Curbs on sales of legal alcohol in Muslim-majority Indonesia, including a ban implemented in 2015 on sales at tens of thousands of convenience stores, have created a significant black market for bootleg liquor among the country's poor.

Laboratory tests showed that almost pure alcohol had been mixed with herbal drinks and energy drinks with high caffeine.

But the latest cluster of fatalities is extreme, leading to speculation that a single large distributor was responsible.

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The Kompas newspaper said there were 32 deaths past year from bootleg liquor.

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