SHAH ALAM - The police have apprehended seven suspects in the ongoing probe on the mass alcohol poisoning that has already claimed 19 lives, with 17 of them from Selangor.
Selangor police chief Comm Datuk Mazlan Mansor said that as of Wednesday (Sept 19), there have been 12 raids in the Klang Valley area.
The suspects were known to be operators and shop workers selling alcohol.
"An operation was launched to trace the alcohol that had been identified and believed to had been consumed by the victims.
"They (the suspects) will be remanded today. We also seized 1,030 bottles of whisky and 1,767 beer cans," he said in a press conference at the state police headquarters on Wednesday (Sept 19).
While it was still too early to tell if the seized alcohol had indeed been tainted or altered, Comm Mazlan said that samples have been sent for lab tests to determine its contents.
He also did not deny nor confirm if the shops had the same supplier, but said that the police would investigate all angles.
"Following the incident, the police have reclassified the case under Section 304 of the Penal Code, for culpable homicide not amounting to murder," he said.
According to Selangor police, 24 victims are still seeking treatment.
On Tuesday (Sept 18), a total of 19 men died while 14 others were warded in critical condition, due to suspected alcohol poisoning.
They were among 51 men who had consumed three brands of alcoholic beverages - Mandalay Whiskey, Kingfisher Beer and Grand Royal Whiskey - purchased from multiple shops in the Klang Valley on Monday (Sept 17).
All the victims had a history of consuming compounded hard liquor, said the Health Ministry in a statement late Tuesday.
"Samples of the alcoholic beverage taken during the investigation at the sale premises have been sent to the Sungai Buloh National Public Health Laboratory for an analysis of the content," said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said most of the victims had shown early signs of methanol poisoning, including stomachaches, nausea, vomiting, headaches and blurred vision with some developing shortness of breath, cramps and sudden unconsciousness.