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Communicating with Spirits

3 Dead and 35 Sick After Drinking Contaminated Spirits in North Bali

(1/18/2014) Home-made alcoholic beverages continue to maim and kill both tourists and locals in Bali.

The latest contaminated drink tragedy unfolded in the village of Munduk, Banjar in the regency of Buleleng. After consuming illegal moonshine 3 residents of Munduk are dead and 35 are ill.

The dead at I Gede Suta Arjawa (39), I Made Dwi Adnyana (45) and I Komang Rudi Alam (35).

Arjawa and Alam died on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 while Adnyana expired two days earlier on Sunday, January 12, 2014.

While details remain sketchy, it is believed that Adnyana purchased and consumed locally-made liquor in Munduk at a local kiosk or warung. He fell instantly ill and died at 10:00 am on Sunday, January 12, 2014 at the Buleleng General Hospital in North Bali.

News of the man’s death brought friends and villagers to Adnyana’s home in Banjar Taman in Munduk on the Sunday afternoon to pay respects. A local village official told authorities that some of the men attending the man’s wake may have consumed more illicit alcohol at Adnyana’s home or a nearby kiosk that resulted in the death of the two more on Tuesday and medical treatment for 35 more.

The village chief confirmed that the unused “arak” left behind by Adnyana was drunk by the dead man’s friends who may have also stopped to drink more arak at a local warung prior that.

Komang Rudi Alam died at Parama Sidhi Hospital in Singaraja on Tuesday morning at 3:00 am while Gede Suta Arjawa perished in the same hospital an hour later. Of the 35 others sickened by the alcohol only two required hospitalization with the remainder treated on an outpatient basis.

One of the sick men said he joined a group drinking arak at Warung Duta in Munduk. Later, when he was suddenly unable to see, his family rushed him to a hospital.

According to NusaBali, Police have taken into custody for further questioning I Komang Duta Artawan, the owner of the warung and the man believed to have sold the illegal arak. Artawan’s detention follows a sweep of local warungs by police. Also seized from Artawan were 50 liters of arak in a large plastic container.

Komang Datuk is denying that he sells illegal arak, telling police he only sells quality arak purchased in Bestala, Buleleng, North Bali. Datuk told police: “This is the arak I got in Bestala. It’s said to be pure arak. I only sell arak, I never mix it with anything.”

The wife of one of the dead men, Gede Suta Arjawa, said she had repeatedly scolded her husband not to drink strong alcohol. Arjawa, who worked as a driver and leaves behind two small children, always replied, with the now ironic, response of, “Don’t forbid me to drink. Life is too short.”

Cases of death and illness due to the consumption of illegal arak are continuing to cause casualties among local residents and tourist visitors. In 2012, a total of 3 died and 39 were made ill in Kintamani after a drinking party in Katung Village in the regency of Bangli.

For many of the sick the effects are lasting with loss of sight and brain damage reported. Others who have suffered kidney damage, are forced to become permanent patients of kidney dialysis.

In an update published by DenPost on January 18, 2014, police have now confirmed the arrest of five people in North Bali involved in the production, sale and distribution of the arak blamed for the deaths and injuries in Munduk incident.