Jakarta, Indonesia – April 19, 2018
On the heels of a surge in bootleg liquor deaths, the National Police Deputy Director Comr. Gen. Syafruddin has directed all regional Police Chiefs to put Bootleg Liquor at the top of their priority list. The Deputy Chief is mandating that local Police Chiefs are to take proactive steps to uncover and dismantle bootleg alcohol operations under their jurisdiction in the wake over 100 deaths since the first week of April 2018.
Although not officially stating that he suspects corruption throughout the regional Police forces, in a tersely worded statement to the Press, deputy chief Comr. Gen. Syafruddin announced, “We will take action against any police officer who keeps silent about oplosan vendors, let alone not investigating cases,” The angered General continued, “For any police chiefs who do not act seriously in implementing this order, we will find out who they are and replace them immediately,”
Oplosan is an Indonesian term used to describe fake dangerous alcohol. In a 2016 article the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies published an article entitled ‘ in which the Author, Rofi Uddarojat distinguishes the difference between using the term to describe, home brew, bootleg and dangerous fake alcohol that contains non-food grade substances unfit for human consumption.
The Press in Indonesia is using the term Oplosan and Bootleg liquor interchangeably which may be a disservice to the population as well as confusing their understanding of what they are drinking. Bootleg liquor in Indonesia often refers to authentic liquor that is smuggled to avoid the high taxes imposed on alcohol by the Indonesian Government to discourage consumption. Confusion over the terms used to describe poisonous liquor is of course not the source of the problem, the underlying source of the surge in alcohol related deaths is fake alcohol producers and distributers who use unsafe ingredients to imitate authentic liquor and home brews. Putting profits over people’s health and lives by ruthless, greedy people is the culprit in the fake alcohol problem in Indonesia and around the world.
As the Deputy Chief seems to imply the money that is paid to Police and Government Officials to protect the fake alcohol producers and distributors is made possible by the extraordinary profits that are being made by these illegal entrepreneurs.
Over the years Indonesian has executed raids on fake liquor operations but the trade is pervasive in a Country that is 85% Muslim and imposes a high tax on liquor to reign in consumption. These problems are seen around the world. High taxes in Turkey, another predominately Muslim Country that places a high tax on Liquor, has seen fake alcohol consortiums skyrocket. When the profits are so high in this illegal enterprise, it is easy for the counterfeiters to pay off police and government officials to look the other way.
Recently in Russia, it was discovered that bribery by counterfeit liquor producers had reached the highest levels of the Police and Government agencies. Not only were the Police and Government Officials accepting bribes from these counterfeit liquor gangs they were a part of the gangs. Maybe National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Syafruddin knows that this is going on in Indonesia or maybe he just suspects it, in either case, he is making strong public statements that it will not be tolerated, and he expects all Police to root out the fake alcohol producers and distributors and protect the public health.
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