In tourist hotspot Bali, cheap homemade local alcohol and even apparent international brand name spirits are being contaminated with methanol – a poison you can’t taste or smell.
The practice is proving lethal, killing two Australian tourists and seriously injuring many others in the past year alone.
The latest unsuspecting victim of methanol poisoning is 19-year-old Liam Davies. Perth-based Davies deliberately sought out a bar serving bottled, brand-name vodka in its cocktails.
However, a recent huge increase in taxes in Indonesia on imported spirits has encouraged a long-standing practice of stretching spirits with the locally made spirit known as arak. Some unscrupulous suppliers are going further, adulterating those local spirits with the poisonous methanol.
Within days of him taking that first sip, Davies’ parents had to make the agonising decision to turn off their son’s life support in a Perth hospital.
Liam’s devastated parents, Tim and Lhani Davies, travelled with Sunday Night reporter Ross Coulthart back to Bali to find the truth about what happened to their son.
The full story screens as part of Sunday Night’s first program of 2013, screening 6:30pm this Sunday on Channel 7.