12 Dead In Indonesia From Drinking Bootleg Alcohol

(AFP) – A dozen Indonesians died and four were in critical condition after drinking illegal bootleg liquor, authorities said Monday, the latest deaths caused by home-made alcohol in the Muslim-majority country.

Most Indonesians practise a moderate form of Islam and alcohol is available in big cities, but high taxes make it expensive and some people can turn to potentially dangerous home-made liquor.

The government-run Subang district general hospital in West Java province admitted 18 victims for “alcohol intoxication” on Saturday, said hospital spokesperson Wawan Gunawan.

“There are five people under observation and 11 people died (at the hospital),” Gunawan told AFP Monday, adding that the victims were aged between 16 and 45 years old.

Another victim was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, Gunawan added.

The victims died after buying the bootleg booze to be consumed at a wedding party on Saturday, according to a local police report.

Four of the victims were in critical condition and one was recovering, said Gunawan.

Police have arrested a suspect in connection with the incident, said Subang police chief Ariek Indra Sentanu.

Local media reported a thirteenth victim had died after their family requested an early discharge from the hospital, but Gunawan could not confirm their status.

In 2018 more than 60 Indonesians died from drinking cheap home-made alcohol with police conducting raids across the country to arrest more than half a dozen vendors, including one who mixed mosquito repellent into his concoction.

In 2016, 36 people died in Central Java after drinking locally-brewed alcohol.