CHEAP and adulterated liquor has become a thriving trade in Klang as the business has mushroomed in Pulau Indah, Kapar, Sentosa and Meru where it targets foreign workers in light industrial areas.
These workers make up a large portion of customers at shops that sell cheap liquor with alcohol content ranging from 39% to 47.8%.
Residents in surrounding areas said a number of the workers would end up in a drunken stupor near their hostels located in shoplots or sometimes at a public park.
Empty bottles in small sizes of 170ml to 250ml — priced from RM3.50 to RM8.50 — can be seen littering a corner of the parks the next day.
In fact, complaints of liquor and beer bottles strewn at public parks in Taman Rakyat in Taman Seri Andalas, Butterfly Park in Bandar Bukit Tinggi and Botanic Park in Bandar Botanic top the list of complaints received by Klang Municipal Council (MPK).
Illegal liquor is sold at back lanes and even in some provision shops.
According to a Selangor Customs Department senior officer, the illegal liquor is smuggled in through Port Klang and hidden in cargo containers declared as various goods like olive oil and even furniture.
The liquor originates from India and Vietnam, among other countries, said the officer.
Admittedly, there are Malaysians in the B40 group who consume these cheap liquors too.
MPK Enforcement Department director Andry Arman Masrom said the trade of illegal liquor had become a concern for the local council.
“Our enforcement team has been shutting down shops that sell illicit liquor.
“Most of these shops look like provision stores. The regulars who buy the liquor will enter the shop and get the bottles from the back end of the premises, ” he elaborated.
He said it took months of surveillance by the MPK enforcement investigation team probing the sale of illicit alcohol to achieve a successful operation and nab the traders. “Our department is cracking the whip on illicit liquor, ” he added.
In 2018, MPK raided 44 premises where 2,880 bottles of unlicensed liquor were seized.
In, 2019, the local council raided 54 premises where it seized 3,168 bottles.
“We raided 27 shops between January and June this year, from which we confiscated 4,769 bottles of illicit liquor, ” said Andry.
He said most of the raids were carried out in Pulau Indah, Kapar, Meru and Sentosa.
He also revealed that during the movement control order in March and April, some illegal outlets had hoarded more than 1,500 bottles of unlicensed liquor.
“We find it difficult to smash the illegal trade as the stores keep only two to three hundred bottles each at a time.
“When stock is low, they will call the distributor to replenish.
“Our target now is to find the warehouse.
“We are working closely with the Klang police in tackling this problem, ” he said.
Andry encouraged the public to call MPK if they had information on any illegal sale of liquor.
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