Alert issued after tourists die from drinking contaminated alcohol in holiday hotspots

Bali tourist tax
By Linsey McNeill
21/04/2023
Home » Alert issued after tourists die from drinking contaminated alcohol in holiday hotspots

The Foreign Office says Brits are among foreigners who have died or suffered serious illnesses after drinking alcohol contaminated with methanol in Indonesia.

It says drink poisoning has happened in bars, shops and hotels in tourist areas including Bali, Lombok, the Gili Islands and Sumatra.

Criminal gangs make counterfeit replicas of well-known alcohol brands containing high amounts of methanol, it said.

In an update to its travel advice, the Foreign Office (FCDO) warned holidaymakers to ‘take extreme care when buying spirit-based drinks’.

“Bottles may appear to be genuine when they’re not, and bottle labels may not be accurate.”

 Contaminated drinks have included:

  • Local spirits, including arak/arrack (a local rice or palm liquor)
  • Spirit-based drinks, such as cocktails
  • Brand name alcohol

Symptoms of methanol poisoning can be similar to those of alcohol poisoning including:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness or fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in vision, including not being able to see, blurred vision or difficulty looking at bright lights
  • Abdominal and muscle pain

The Foreign Office was already warning of sexual assaults and drink spiking in Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands.

It said tourists have been robbed after taking visitors to their hotel rooms and, in some cases, have found that their drinks were spiked.

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