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Customs seizes 4,000 litres of bootleg liquor.

The Customs Department has seized over 4,000 litres of bootleg alcohol in 220 raids in the Klang Valley, amid a spate of methanol poisonings that has killed 40 people to date.

The department's director-general, Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy, told a press conference today that the nationwide crackdowns, jointly conducted with the police, are still ongoing.

'In this operation, we've had several successes, whereby to date, we have already conducted 220 raids and we have gotten more than 4,000 litres of alcohol, among which are Grand Royal whisky, Kingfisher Extra, Carlsberg, Cap Kapak, Camel Strong, Mandalay, Club 99 and others,' Subromaniam said.

'Investigations are still ongoing to see if there are links between what we found on the premises - where equipment to process the bootleg liquor was found - and those who died of methanol poisoning.

'I want to give assurance that the Customs Department will actively carry out raids on all outlets selling alcohol, to ensure they do not sell alcohol not approved by the Customs, and which fail to meet the regulations under the Food Act 1983 and Food Act 1985,' he added.

Subromaniam said that those who allow their premises to be used for bootleg alcohol production can also be charged under Section 74 of the Excise Act, as any alcohol-processing activity must be licensed by the Customs Department.

'We can also charge those who keep any alcoholic drinks not approved by the Customs Department, under Section 135 (1) (d) of the Customs Act,' he added.

In the press conference, Subromaniam also announced another successful raid that was carried out on a house in Taman Klang Utama, Klang.

He said that the Customs Department foiled a bootleg liquor production syndicate two days ago, seizing several brands, namely Mandalay, Club 99, Grand Royal, Kapak and several others that were associated with the recent methanol poisoning deaths.

'The quantity of the liquors and beers seized is about 1,966.70 litres, with an estimated value of RM105,800.60 and which costs RM260,090.31 in tax payments.

'The Customs Department also detained a 63-year-old Malaysian to facilitate investigations,' he added.

Subromaniam said that the case is being investigated under Section 74 (1) of the Excise Act (Act 176) 1976 and Section 135 (1) (d) of the Customs Act 1976.

The number of deaths from methanol poisoning has risen to 40, the Health Ministry revealed yesterday.

Eleven out of the 40 were Malaysians, while the rest comprised Bangladeshis, Indian nationals, Myanmar nationals, Nepalese, Indonesians and four of unknown nationality.

Methanol poisoning, suspected to be caused by bootleg liquor, was reported in Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur and Perak, totalling 95 cases since yesterday.

National newswire Bernama reported the manufacturer of Kingfisher beer ? which was allegedly consumed by the victims ? as saying that laboratory tests confirmed its product was methanol-free.

Methanol, the simplest form of alcohol, is found in small amounts in wine and beer, but toxic levels can be found in home-brewed alcohol due to less sophisticated distillation systems compared to commercial brands.

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Publication:Malay Mail Online (Petaling Jaya, Malaysia)
Geographic Code:9MYAN
Date:Sep 28, 2018
Words:576
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