More than 50 people have died this month from drinking bootleg alcohol in Indonesia, police and health officials said, including 11 on Monday.
Alcohol is available in major urban areas across Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, but has been harder to come by since 2015, when its sale was banned at convenience stores in what officials said was a move to protect youth.
Indonesian Muslims consider alcohol forbidden, but alcohol consumption isn’t uncommon in the country, especially in urban areas.
The difficulty of obtaining alcohol coupled with high taxation has led people to turn to homemade liquors that are sometimes made with toxic substances including methanol, which can cause blindness and death.
Deaths occur frequently, but the recent increase is unusual. Police believe that a large distributor is behind many of the deaths and have arrested two vendors in recent days. The spate of deaths includes dozens of people in the capital, Jakarta, and as far away as Papua in the remote east.
Hospital officials said that they believed homemade alcohol led to the deaths of 11 people Monday at hospitals in Bandung, about 150 kilometers southeast of Jakarta. The victims had complained of pain and nausea.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Photo courtesy of AFP
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