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Police: Indonesia bootleg alcohol deaths exceed 100

AP  |  Jakarta 

Deaths from drinking toxic bootleg in have exceeded 100 this month, police said today as they vowed a "earth" crackdown on the makers and distributors of black-market liquor.

Deputy said deaths this month have been concentrated in populous and Jakarta, the capital, but there were also cases in and other regions that bring fatalities to more than 100.

Indonesian TV has broadcast images of distraught relatives in several cities and lines of gurneys bearing dead bodies in hospital hallways as the death toll relentlessly climbed since late last week. There were 31 deaths in and at the beginning of the month followed by a dramatic surge in hospitalizations and deaths in

"This is a crazy phenomenon," Syafruddin said. "If we let it continue, it will harm the nation," he said.

"I have ordered all the police chiefs in to make these cases stop, zero victims, meaning to reveal the roots ranging from the producers, distributors, sellers to those who have the idea of mixing with fatal chemicals," Syafruddin told reporters.

Police displayed huge quantities of suspect confiscated at their conference, some of it in the small clear plastic bags that it's sold in as well as professionally labeled bottles purporting to be whiskey or wine.

Syafruddin said production of illegal must be eradicated completely with a earth campaign and called for the cooperation of Cabinet and government agencies.

It's unclear how effective the crackdown will be. Curbs on sales of legal in Muslim-majority Indonesia, including a ban on sales from tens of thousands of convenience stores, have created a significant black market for bootleg liquor among the country's poor.

Potentially lethal methanol can be a byproduct of bootleg distilling and the tainted is also sometimes mixed with soft drinks. In the recent spate of deaths, police said pure was sometimes combined with ingredients such as cough mixture and insect repellant.

Syafruddin said laboratory testing of black-market sized by police in several raids in showed it contained methanol.

Deaths from toxic are common in and foreigners are occasionally among the victims. Some governments warn travelers to the Indonesian islands of and to be cautious about consuming local spirits and alcoholic beverages.

But the latest cluster of fatalities is extreme, leading to speculation that a single large distributor was responsible. But police, who have arrested seven people suspected of mixing or selling tainted alcohol, said they have not found evidence to support that.

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

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 11 2018. 12:30 IST
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