Member of illegal liquor processing syndicate arrested

17 Jun 2019 / 22:48 H.

GEORGE TOWN: The police arrested a Myanmar national suspected of being part of a syndicate selling illegally-processed liquor which resulted in the deaths of six men on Saturday.

Northeast District Police chief ACP Che Zaimani Che Awang today said the 44-year-old man was arrested at a shop in the Komtar building here during a raid conducted with the Penang Customs Department.

“A total of 2,271 self-processed branded and unbranded bottles and cans, three pots, plastic funnels and steel filters were confiscated at the premises, and the liquor is believed to have been smuggled into the country, as there was no permit or evidence that the duties had been paid,“ he said in a press conference here.

Che Zaimani said the man who did not have any valid travel documents was remanded for 14 days to be investigated under Section 304b of the Penal Code for manslaughter and could face imprisonment up to 10 years, or a fine, or both, upon conviction.

“Investigations have so far found that the liquor is processed by the Myanmar-based syndicate at a location we are trying to locate, before being distributed to several shops including the premises at Komtar and is refilled in branded liquor bottles to deceive buyers,“ he said.

Che Zaimani said the arrests and raids were made following the death of six men, including four foreigners, after purchasing liquor containing methanol (a toxic substance) at cheap prices in the state over past last two months.

He said those who died were in their 40s and comprised two local residents, three Myanmarese and an Indian national.

The post-mortem report carried out at the Penang Hospital (HPP) confirmed their deaths were due to methanol poisoning after consuming the cheap liquor.

“The police have received 13 police reports on methanol poisoning over the past two months and besides the six cases involving deaths, six other Myanmarese and a Nepalese are still being treated at HPP,“ he said.

He said the police were now tracking down the other members of the syndicate including another Myanmar national believed to be selling the liquor at construction sites around the state. — Bernama

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