16 Indonesians die after drinking bootleg alcohol

Sixteen Indonesians have died and nine are fighting for their lives after drinking bootleg alcohol to celebrate New Year's Eve on the main island of Java, police said Monday.

Police have arrested a couple who are suspected of producing and distributing the to roadside stalls in the town of Mojokerto in eastern Java, where the victims bought it.

It is thought the locally produced alcohol, believed to be made from palm tree sap or rice, contained poisonous methanol, Awi Setiyono, police spokesman for East Java province, told AFP.

Those that drank the alcohol to celebrate New Year began falling ill in the following days and the first death was recorded on Friday, said Setiyono.

A total of 16 people have now died—including two on Monday—and nine people are in in local hospitals, he said.

"We suspect that the drink contains methanol but we can only confirm that after we have the results of laboratory tests," he said.

The couple that were arrested are in custody, he added.

There have been many previous cases where alcohol containing methanol—which is sometimes added to drinks to make them stronger—has proved fatal in Indonesia.

In 2009, 25 people including four foreigners died after drinking methanol-laced palm wine on the resort island of Bali.

The small proportion of those who consume alcohol in Muslim-majority Indonesia sometimes opt for homemade drinks, because legally produced alcohol is relatively expensive as it is heavily taxed and much is imported.

Related Stories

Czech authorities ban liquor after 19 poisoned

date Sep 15, 2012

The Czech health minister has placed a total ban on the sale of liquor with over 20 percent alcohol, following 19 deaths attributed to methanol poisoning from bootleg spirits.

Toxic alcohol kills 17 in southern India

date Jan 02, 2012

At least 17 people have died from drinking toxic home-brewed alcohol in southern India, an official said on Monday, just weeks after a similar incident claimed 170 lives.

Toxic liquor kills 143 in eastern India

date Dec 15, 2011

A batch of home-brewed liquor thought to have been laced with the highly toxic chemical methanol has killed 143 people in eastern India, an official told AFP on Thursday.

Recommended for you

Physician/Pharmacist model can improve mean BP

date 11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A physician/pharmacist collaborative model can improve mean blood pressure (BP), according to a study published online March 24 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Innovative prototype presented for post-ICU patients

date 11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A collaborative care model, the Critical Care Recovery Center (CCRC), represents an innovative prototype aimed to improve the quality of life of intensive care unit (ICU) survivors, according ...

Clues to a city's health may be found in its sewage

date 14 hours ago

Research from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee suggests that sampling a city's sewage can tell scientists a great deal about its residents – and may someday lead to improvements in public health.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.