November 27, 2017 – Heyuan, Guangdong, China
Twenty-two people were reported poisoned by Counterfeit Alcohol in China at the Muse Bar in the sprawling city of Heyuan. Thirteen people were hospitalized with four still unconscious and being treated in the ICU. It has been determined by tests that all twenty-two people were poisoned by methanol alcohol. Over the past week, people began presenting themselves to the Heyuan People’s Hospital, located in the province of Guangdong. Police were notified when doctors noticed the pattern of methanol poisoning. Upon interviewing the patients that were coherent, police investigators determined that they all had something in common, they had all visited the Muse Bar in the last week. It was determined through the interviews that the patients all consumed whiskey at the Muse Bar.
Police visited the Muse Bar and began an examination of its stock, keying in on two whiskey brands mentioned by the poisoned patients at the hospital, Flylion and Faliya. Preliminary tests by police, which were later confirmed by The China Food and Drug Administration indicated the presence of methanol. Police seized 190 cases of Flylion and Faliya. The owner of Muse Bar, along with three employees were taken into custody by police, who closed the bar on an order from the Guangdong Food and Drug Administration. The owner of the Muse Bar could not produce receipts for the Flylion and Faliya in its inventory. The owner of the Muse later admitted that he had purchased the bogus booze on WeChat.
The two brands Flylion and Faliya are registered to Penglai Weiyade Wine, a Yantai producer. When presented with the confiscated bottles, executive at Penglai Weiyade Wine, confirmed that the bottles were a perfect representation of their brand, however, the liquor, bottles and labels were not produced by them. Following the Friday Meeting with the representatives of Penglai Weiyade Wine, the Guangdong Food and Drug Administration announced a ban on the sale of Flylion and Faliya, citing the poisonous levels of methanol in the counterfeited bottles and the high quality of the counterfeited bottles, caps and labels.
The Guangdong Food and Drug Administration issued an investigative order to all police departments throughout the province to visit all establishments where these brands are sold. Administrators also advised other provincial administrations of their findings and belief that these brands have been widely distributed to bars and other retail establishments that sell liquor.
The Food and Drug Administration of Hainan, reacting to the bulletin, raided a bar named Miami in the city of Wenchang where they confiscated 553 bottles of the fake alcohol labelled as Flylion and Faliya. The bar manager of Miami, also admitted that he bought the product on WeChat and had already sold 47 bottles of the fake alcohol.
Methanol Alcohol is a cheap, quick, and deadly way for counterfeit alcohol producers to imitate authentic liquor products. The poisonous effects of methanol alcohol work on the nervous system, eyesight, and vital organs after being ingested. It can lead to blindness, in some cases almost immediately, long time nervous disorders, vital organ disorders and death. One of the most serious cases of mass methanol poisonings in China occurred at a Spring Festival in 1998. In that case 20 people died and hundreds were taken ill. The long term after effects of methanol alcohol poisoning can take years to surface.
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