Jakarta: At least 16 people have died after drinking alcohol laced with methanol in the past week in Indonesia’s Central Java city of Yogyakarta, media reports said Sunday.
Yogyakarta police have arrested five vendors selling an alcoholic beverage laced with methanol and further intensified their questioning on two other vendors for allegedly adding excessive levels of methanol to the liquor, known locally as lapen, the state-run Antara news agency reported.
“Three of the vendors had been named suspects and we’re intensifying the interrogations on two others,” Syaiful Anwar of Yogyakarta’s police detective was quoted as saying.
Cases of poisoning involving home-made drinks are common in Indonesia, where quality alcoholic beverages are expensive.
Last year, 14 people died in Central Java after drinking a concoction of 90 percent alcohol, ginseng, vanilla extract and fermented tea.
At least 25 people died in two weeks after consuming a homemade liquor laced with methanol on Indonesia’s resort islands of Bali and Lombok in mid-2009.