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JAKARTA, Indonesia – More than two dozen Indonesians have died after drinking bootleg alcohol in central Java, police said Monday, February 8.
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,” Sleman police chief Yulianto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP.
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. 4 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 4 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.
Alcohol is also heavily taxed in Indonesia, where more than 90% of the population describe themselves as Muslim. Drinking is against Islamic law. – Rappler.com