Methanol poisoning: Customs Dept, cops intensify raids in Klang Valley for counterfeit liquor

PORT KLANG: The Customs Department has intensified operations by carrying out 220 raids in the Klang Valley following the death of 40 people from methanol poisoning.

Customs Department director-general Datuk Seri Subromaniam Tholasy said more than 4,000 litres were seized in the raids in collaboration with the police.

He said the counterfeit liquor seized were brands such as Grand Royal whisky, Kingfisher Extra, Cap Kapak, Camel Strong, Mandalay and Club 99.

According to Subromaniam, investigations were underway to determine if there was any evidence linking to the discovery in the raids, such as liquor processing equipment, to the recent spate of methanol poisoning.

“We have detained 34 people, including three women in the 220 raids to help us with investigations,’’ said Subromaniam at a press conference here on Friday.

Of the 40 people who died, 11 are Malaysians, while 25 comprises Indonesians, Nepalese, Indians, Bangladeshis and Myanmar citizens. Four were unknown nationalities.

‘The Customs Department will continue carrying out raids on all outlets selling alcohol to ensure liquor not approved by the Customs Department and failed to meet regulations under the Food Act 1983 and Food Act 1985 is not sold,’’ said Subromaniam.

The Customs Department and the police had also busted a counterfeit liquor den in Taman Klang Utama near here two days ago.

Subromaniam said that the fake alcohol seized were labels such as Mandalay, Club 99, Grand Royal and Kapak among others which were suspected to contain methanol.

“We seized 1,966 litres of counterfeit liquor valued at RM105,800.

"A 63-year-old local man, believed to be the owner of the premises, was arrested to assist with investigations,’’ he said.

Subromaniam added that alcohol illegally produced in premises such as this, was largely for the consumption of foreigners in the country, and was cheaper than retail prices in shops.

He said the case was being investigated under Section 74 of the Excise Act (Act 176) 1976 for evasion of excise duty and illegal production.

The case was also being investigated under Section 6(1) of the Law Reform (Eradication of Illicit Samsu) 1976 (Act 165) for storing, using or allowing premises to be used to process illegal samsu.

Also present at the press conference was Selangor police chief Datuk Mazlan Mansor.
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