26 Indonesians die after drinking bootleg alcohol

AFP-JIJI

More than two dozen Indonesians in central Java have died after drinking bootleg alcohol, police said Monday.

Investigators said a majority of the victims died after purchasing homemade liquor from a couple in Sleman, a town north of Yogyakarta city, local police said.

“Most of the victims were students,” said Sleman police chief Yulianto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

The first death occurred last Wednesday, with more fatalities reported soon after.

The police have arrested the couple who sold the concoction of ethanol, water and fruit that is believed to have caused 22 deaths. Four other people were also killed by bootleg liquor sold by another vendor, who has also been arrested.

There have been several previous cases where bootleg alcohol has proved fatal in the Muslim-majority country.

In 2014, more than a dozen Indonesians in Java died after imbibing illicit booze to ring in the New Year.

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

Last year, authorities banned small shops from selling alcohol, triggering warnings from health advocates that the move could push people to purchase black-market spirits.