Indonesian authorities say the number of people dead from consuming homemade adulterated alcohol on Java island has increased to 82 and seven suspects have been arrested in relation to the incident.
The epidemic is blamed on a burgeoning black market for liquor in the predominantly Muslim country, which implemented sweeping restrictions on the outlets than can offer alcohol two years ago, effectively preventing sales through convenience stores and restricting the legitimate trade to hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs.
The deaths occurred in the capital Jakarta and neighboring province of West Java and at least a dozen men had been detained on suspicion of making and distributing the drink, police said.
They have confiscated huge quantities of alcohol.
"This is a insane phenomenon", said Syafruddin, standing in front of seven handcuffed suspects at a news conference. 'If we let it continue, it will harm the nation.
Syafruddin said he had ordered all regional police chiefs to "make these cases stop" and to trace "producers, distributors, sellers, to those who have the idea of mixing alcohol with fatal chemicals".
Police prepare evidence during a press conference regarding the arrests of suspects linked to the production and sale of illegal bootleg alcohol which claimed the lives of more than 80 people this week in Jakarta and nearby West Java province, at a police station in Jakarta, Indonesia April 11, 2018.
Tests on black-market alcohol showed it often contained methanol, a byproduct of bootleg distilling which can be lethal.
Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is a commonly used organic solvent that, because of its toxicity, can cause metabolic acidosis, neurologic sequelae, and even death, when ingested, according to medical website Medscape.
They also found other ingredients such as soft drinks, syrup, and energy drinks in the liquor samples as well.