At least 68 people in Indonesia have died during April after drinking bootleg alcohol, alarming the authorities in the country with the worlds largest Muslim population.
Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono said Monday that another 31 people have died in Jakarta and its satellite cities of Depok and Bekasi from alcohol poisoning in separate incidents since the beginning of the month.
Alcohol is available in major urban areas across Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, but has been harder to come by since 2015, when its sale was banned at convenience stores in what officials said was a move to protect youth.
Indra Hermawan, chief adjunct commissioner of the Bandung police, said on Tuesday that the deaths took place in the Rancabolang and Cicalengka districts in Bandung Regency, West Java Province.
He said 23 died after drinking a home brew called ginseng alcohol, which was supposedly mixed with other substances that could harm the body. The police said they are in search of other sellers and distributors of homebrew.
Seven people have been arrested for allegedly selling the bootleg alcohol, including a man in West Java who mixed mosquito repellent into his homemade concoction. The drink contained alcohol, cough medicine and mosquito repellent.
In another case, an arrested vendor said he had mixed pure alcohol with Coca-Cola and an energy drink, police said. The spate of deaths includes dozens of people in the capital, Jakarta, and as far away as Papua in the remote east.
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