A couple who sold a deadly concoction of home-made liquor and rat poison to unsuspecting customers in Indonesia’s West Java province have been arrested by the police, after 12 people died and three others were left in critical condition.
The victims drank the toxic brew, known locally as oplosan, on Sunday night in Subang district.
They started to experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and chest pain shortly after consuming the drink.
The police said the couple, who were trying to escape after learning about the deaths, admitted that they had mixed the alcohol with lanarkite, a lead sulfate mineral, and copper phosphide, which was used as rodent poison.
The mixture resulted in a dark grey liquid that they sold for about a dollar per litre, according to Ariek Indra Sentanu, the local police chief.
“They admitted that they had overdone the dosage of the mixture,” he said.
Oplosan is a cheap and popular alcoholic drink in Indonesia, where many people cannot afford licensed liquor.
However, oplosan can be dangerous or even fatal if it contains toxic substances such as methanol, formalin, or pesticides.
Hundreds die each year in Indonesia from alcohol poisoning as a result of consuming contaminated liquor, according to the World Health Organisation.
In April 2018, about 100 died and many more were hospitalised in Jakarta and neighbouring towns after drinking a bootleg liquor product.