Police vow to stamp out bootleg liquor by Ramadhan

AFP Indonesia

At least 45 people have died and dozens more are being treated in hospitals in Indonesia after drinking illegally produced alcohol.

More than 100 others have been hospitalized over the tainted homemade booze in and around West Java's capital city of Bandung, Bandung Health Agency head Ahmad Kustijadi said in a Jakarta Post report. They have confiscated huge quantities of alcohol.

National Police deputy chief Comr. 'If we let it continue, it will harm the nation.

Syafruddin said he had ordered all regional police chiefs to "make these cases stop" and to trace "producers, distributors, sellers, to those who have the idea of mixing alcohol with fatal chemicals".

He said production of illegal alcohol must be eradicated completely with a "scorched earth" campaign.

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In the recent spate of deaths, police said pure alcohol was sometimes combined with ingredients such as cough mixture and insect repellent.

Spirits bought on the black market in the country can contain lethal amounts of methanol.

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. Gen. Syafruddin said the force would conduct operations against bootleg liquor across the country and stressed that the distribution of the harmful product had to be ended immediately.

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

Police have arrested seven people for allegedly producing and distributing bootleg liquor in West Java and Greater Jakart.

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