Health Desk: 11 April 2018: Deaths from drinking toxic bootleg alcohol in Indonesia have spiraled past 100 this month, police said Wednesday as they vowed a "scorched earth" crackdown on the makers and distributors of black-market liquor.
Deputy National Police Chief Muhammad Syafruddin said deaths have been concentrated in populous West Java and Jakarta, the capital, but there were also cases in South Kalimantan and other regions that bring fatalities to more than 100.
Indonesian TV has broadcast images of distraught relatives in several cities and lines of gurneys bearing dead bodies in hospital hallways as the death toll relentlessly climbed since late last week. There were 31 deaths in Jakarta and satellite cities at the beginning of the month followed by a dramatic surge in deaths in West Java and hospitalizations of dozens of people suffering nausea, blurry vision, and loss of consciousness.
"This is a crazy phenomenon," said Syafruddin, standing in front of seven handcuffed suspects at a press conference.
"If we let it continue, it will harm the nation," he said.
"I have ordered all the police chiefs in Indonesia to make these cases stop, zero victims, meaning to reveal the roots ranging from the producers, distributors, sellers to those who have the idea of mixing alcohol with fatal chemicals," Syafruddin said.
Police displayed huge quantities of suspect confiscated alcohol at their news conference, some of it in the small clear plastic bags it's sold in for about 25,000 rupiah