15 Men Dead, 33 Other People Hospitalized in Malaysia from Suspected Alcohol Poisoning

Fifteen men, most believed to be foreign workers, have died in Malaysia and 33 more are in hospital with suspected poisoning after consuming alcoholic drinks, police said Tuesday.

The victims drank two types of whiskey and one type of beer at several locations in Selangor state next to the capital Kuala Lumpur, said local police chief Mazlan Mansor.

The first victim was a factory worker who died on Monday evening while the latest passed away on Tuesday afternoon, the official news agency Bernama reported.

The first seven to die were one Malaysian, four Nepalis, one Indian and one Bangladeshi, Mazlan said. He did not disclose the identities of all the other victims but added most were believed to be foreign workers.

“The official cause of death is yet to be confirmed. However initial investigations found all of them were admitted to hospital after consuming alcohol,” the police chief said in a statement.

Local media said police confiscated boxes of various types of alcohol from some shops following the deaths.

Relatively affluent Malaysia is home to an army of migrant workers from other Asian countries, who typically toil in low-paying jobs in factories, on building sites and on plantations.

Deaths caused by bootleg alcohol have been rare in Malaysia in recent years unlike in other Asian countries such as India and Indonesia, where fatalities from fake booze are common.