The alcohol poisoning case in Klang Valley had shocked the nation yesterday (Sept 18) with 15 men reported dead. The latest report today revealed the number had increased to 19 while 14 others are in critical condition in the hospitals, The Star reported.
The authorities had received 51 cases as of yesterday and believed the number of victims would continue to increase. Those men had a history of consuming compounded hard liquor and it’s exposed that they had consumed the lethal alcoholic beverages from these three brands: Mandalay Whiskey, Kingfisher Beer and Grand Royal Whiskey.
Kuala Lumpur received six cases while Selangor hospitals had undertaken 45 cases and they were warded in Sungai Buloh Hospital, Banting Hospital, Kuala Lumpur Hospital, and among others. Three of the victims were Malaysians while the rest of the victims were foreigners from Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh and India, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
“Nine of them have been moved to the hospital ward for further treatment and care, while another nine victims have been allowed to return home after being treated,” Dr Noor added.
He said that the bootleg alcohol had been seized by the authorities at the sale premises and samples of them had been sent to Sungai Buloh National Public Health Laboratory for an analysis. He explained that most victims showed signs of methanol poisoning, such as:
- blurred vision
- some developing shortness of breath
- sudden unconsciousness
According to ABC news, methanol is the simplest form of alcohol. It’s closely related to ethanol where it’s commonly found it in beer, wine and spirits − but methanol is much more toxic. It’s usually formed in a small amount during fermentation and its presence in drinks made from home-distilled spirits poses a serious health risk.
The health ministry had started investigating the percentage of methanol as well as other harmful elements in the liquor.
“It is hard liquor but sometimes, there will be other elements mixed in it. This is not the original content. It is compounded hard liquor.
“One of the contents that we have identified is methanol. It may be too high. If not it would not have been fatal,” Dr Noor continued today, as quoted by NST.
Malay Mail reported that the investigation into the case had been classified as culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The ministry had previously lodged a police report in regards to the case and the enforcement officers had raided two grocery shops in Kampung Baru Sungai Buloh yesterday and seized boxes of alcohol beverages. It’s believed that the shops were run by foreigners.
Seven suspects had been arrested and they were operators and shop workers that sold alcohol, Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Mazlan Mansor revealed. Two of them were locals.
“An operation was launched to trace the alcohol that had been identified and believed to had been consumed by the victims.
“They (the suspects) will be remanded today. We also seized 1,030 bottles of whisky and 1,767 beer cans,” said the police chief.
Comm Mazlan added that it’s still early to tell if the liquor had been tainted or altered, only the lab report could tell which would be completed depending on the complexity of the elements.