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Indonesian police say 16 die from illegal liquor
Associated Press
2010-02-16 11:45 AM
Indonesian police said Tuesday they have arrested five alleged alcohol peddlers in the deaths of 16 people who drank liquor laced with poisonous methanol on the country's main island of Java.

Police Maj. Saiful Anwar said the five were arrested for allegedly making a liquid that endangered life but that charges had not been filed yet.

Anwar said the bodies of 16 people who had died would be exhumed in order to establish the causes of death. The deaths occurred between Feb. 6-14.

Methanol can be used as a fuel and is an ingredient in formaldehyde, plastics and paints.

Ethanol is the main ingredient in alcoholic drinks and is far less toxic than methanol. But it is heavily taxed in Indonesia _ causing high prices for alcohol and spawning a large black market for wine and liquor.

Last year, 25 people died in two weeks after consuming a homemade liquor laced with methanol on Indonesia's resort islands of Bali and Lombok.

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