The Jakarta Post
The number of people falling victim to oplosan (bootleg alcohol) in Yogyakarta rose to 26 on Monday, according to a police officer.
The victims drank the bootleg liquor in areas across the province including Sleman, Yogya and Bantul regencies, Sleman Police chief Adj.Sr.Comr. Yulianto said on Monday as reported by kompas.com.
From witness testimonies, police learned that the victims had all bought the oplosan from a man initialed SK, a resident of Ambarukmo in Sleman.
SK and his wife SB mixed and sold bootleg liquor labeled Sari Vodka, Yulianto said, adding that victims had also bought the alcohol from MT and PY, residents of Margoluwih village in Sleman.
Sleman Police arrested SK and SB as part of their investigation into the deaths.
Investigators also took urine, blood and vomit samples from the victims to be tested at the Police Forensic Laboratory in Semarang, Central Java.
Sleman Police also conducted crime scene investigations at SK and SB's house in Ambarukmo, where the pair concocted the oplosan.
From their kitchen, police confiscated one gallon of fermented salak fruit and two bottles of alcohol.
Police also found liquid antibug repellent and liquid medicine for aches and pains, along with a number of unidentified liquids.
The death toll rose from 17 people, mostly university students, on Saturday, while15 others remain under intensive treatment at Bethesda Hospital, Dr Sardjito Hospital and Syarif Hidayatullah Hospital.
The liquor allegedly contained a mixture of 96 percent alcohol, water, sweetener and fruit flavoring.
Bootleg liquor, or oplosan, is popular in Indonesia, as it is significantly less expensive than branded alcoholic drinks.
A bottle of oplosan, which contains 300 milliliters of liquor, for example, is sold for between Rp 15,000 (US$1) and Rp 20,000 in Yogyakarta.
An oplosan maker usually runs his or her operation at a small-scale level, selling only to known and regular customers. The police claim that this kind of secluded, customer-based operation makes it difficult for them to track and prevent the distribution of the product. (rin)
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