A total of 82 people have died from alcohol poisoning after drinking unlicensed liquor in Indonesia in the past month. Setyo Wasisto, a spokesman for the national police, said 51 died in West Java in the past several days, while 31 died in Jakarta earlier this month, The Washington Post reported.
Wasisto said the death toll had been 54 on Monday, but increased to 82 in the past few days. He added that more than 100 were in critical condition in several hospitals due to drinking the unlicensed moonshine.
Alcohol is heavily taxed in Indonesia, making it too expensive for most people, which prompted a black market for the unlicensed liquor. The liquor was sold in roadside stalls and stores around Jakarta and Banding, ABC News Online reported.
A lot of the alcohol was made from insect repellent and cough medicine, which was then sold in plastic bags on the streets, Global News reported. Trunoyudo Wisnu Andiko, a West Java police spokesperson, said seven people had been arrested on charges of making and selling the liquor. Police were searching for at least two more suspects, he said.
Andiko said police were testing the liquor to determine its contents. “It was a blend of components not fit for consumption,” he said.