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The Old Bali Blog « Bootleg 'arak' kills three in Buleleng, North Bali

Three die and 34 fall seriously ill in Buleleng Regency after drinking a bad batch of super-arak - with the emphasis on 'soup'.

The vicious, 80%-proof brew is often mixed with methanol and mosquito repellent to give it a kick. Blindness, kidney failure, excruciating death, etc.

On Bali, it's called oplasan. Do not go near it.

And unless there's a big, one-off death-toll from a single sitting, it's usually only foreigners' deaths that make international headlines.

Since 2010, there have been dozens of poisoning deaths in Indonesia blamed on methanol and fake drinks. Among the victims are New Zealand-born rugby player Mike Denton, Irish tourist Roisin Burke and Swede Johan Lundin.

Be careful what you drink on Bali and Lombok's Gili Islands - getting blind drunk has a whole different meaning when you hit the spirits here.

Maybe just forget the cocktails and stick to the Bintang beer.

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