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Couple arrested for selling lethal bootleg alcohol that kills 14 in Indonesia

Jakarta Globe - November 1, 2023

Elan Suherlan, Jakarta – A couple has been arrested for distributing toxic homemade alcohol that claimed the lives of at least 14 people during a wedding celebration in the West Java town of Subang over the weekend.

"As of Tuesday, the number of victims linked to the bootleg alcohol has risen to 18, with 14 fatalities and four others in critical condition at the hospital," said Herman Saputra, the head of criminal investigation at the Subang Police.

The suspects, identified by their initials NN, 59, and his wife RH, 43, operated an unauthorized shop selling homemade alcohol in Sarireja Village, Jalancagak Sub-district.

Reports reveal that enraged villagers destroyed the couple's shop and several nearby establishments, believing they were responsible for supplying the tainted alcoholic drinks that led to this tragedy.

Most of the victims were residents of the village and its vicinity, with the youngest victim being just 16 years old. Among the deceased was a 24-year-old woman.

Feri Riana, aged 30, shared his experience, recalling that he began feeling nauseous and suffered from a severe headache the day after consuming the alcohol on Saturday evening. His condition deteriorated, leading to hospitalization on Monday.

"I'm feeling much better now," he told reporters from his hospital bed in Subang on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, many others were not as fortunate. A woman named Piping had to hastily return from her workplace in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, to attend her son's funeral. Muhamad Rizki Hadiza, aged 20, lost his life after consuming the contaminated alcohol.

"I received the devastating news from my relative in Subang while I was in Lombok. My eldest son has passed away," a tearful Piping said at a public cemetery in Jalancagak.

She added, "I hope there are no more victims. As for the alcohol sellers, I trust law enforcement authorities to handle the case."

While police have obtained a sample of the tainted drinks, the results of the investigation have yet to be disclosed.

Many provinces in Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population, restrict the sale of alcoholic beverages in regular shops and supermarkets. However, they do permit distribution in hotels, bars, and nightclubs. In resort regions like Bali, liquor is readily available.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/couple-arrested-for-selling-lethal-bootleg-alcohol-that-kills-14-in-indonesi