Bootleg liquor consumption leads to over 50 deaths in Indonesia

Illegal liquors are often found to contain toxic substances including methanol

A home-based alcohol factory in Jakarta (Image from AP)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Indonesia has seen more than 50 deaths from drinking bootleg alcohol this month alone, according to media reports, citing government officials.

The Southeast Asian nation, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, has banned the sale of alcohol at convenience stores since 2015 with the aim of protecting youth, a move that has spurred people to turn to homemade liquor as an alternative, despite the fact that these liquors are often found to contain toxic substances including methanol – which can induce visual-impairment and even death.

Even though death as a result of bootleg alcohol consumption is not uncommon, Indonesian police believe that recent surge of death cases can be attributed to a large distributor of illegal liquors and have made two arrests of booze vendors.

The dozens of deaths occurred in areas including the capital, Jakarta, and as remote as Papua, the easternmost province of Indonesia. People admitted into hospitals are reported to have exhibited symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath and unconsciousness after drinking bootleg liquor.