The Australian Medical Association has called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to "show leadership" over the death of a Perth teenager from a methanol-laced drink in Indonesia after The West Australian today revealed the incident had not been reported to Indonesian police and no action had been taken to investigate the crime.
In an exclusive report today, The West Australian revealed that the bar that allegedly served the drink that killed Liam Davies remained open yesterday and Indonesian police said that no investigation had been launched into his death.
A week after the 19-year-old roof carpenter consumed a drink laced with methanol and two days after he died, the head of North Lombok police said the poisoning had not been reported to him and the first he had heard of the case was yesterday when contacted by The West Australian.
He said Australian authorities had not contacted him about Mr Davies’ death or about the serious allegations against the bar where he had been drinking.
No investigation had been launched, no bar staff had been interviewed and no attempt had been made to test the drinks that were still being served to tourists.
The revelation came a day after Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr said he had ordered diplomats in Indonesia to meet local police and push for strong action against liquor bootleggers.
But no immediate action has been taken.
AMA WA president Richard Choong said the Prime Minister should "stand up and show leadership".
“How many people need to die or be maimed before something is done? How many travellers need to be injured before both Australian and Indonesian authorities decide action is needed?” Dr Choong said.
He said the Prime Minister needed to take action on the issue, and if necessary should make formal contact with her Indonesian counterpart.
“It is time for real leadership on this issue and I call on the Prime Minister to work with the Indonesian President to ensure that this crime is investigated and ensure bar owners and bootleggers are held accountable for the use of methanol,” he said.
“This is a crime and the bar is a crime scene. For no action to have been taken, as reported, demonstrates what a farce this is. Young people are being poisoned and nothing is being done. This is truly embarrassing for both governments and a slap in the face of all travellers.”
“The bar responsible should be closed immediately and people charged for this crime.”
Dr Choong said bars selling unregulated drinks should be prosecuted by Indonesian authorities.
"The bar owners that are selling these things really do need to have consequences. In Australia this would be manslaughter, if a bar actually did this to a patron," he said.
“If there are yet to be repercussions for this incident, then I fear for the tourists still being served these deadly cocktails in Indonesia,” Dr Choong said.
Last night, when asked why police had not been informed, a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said: “The consulate in Bali has spoken to health authorities seeking to arrange a roundtable with health, tourism and police officials to discuss the issue of tainted or adulterated drinks.
“It will be seeking similar discussions with officials in Lombok.”
North Lombok police chief Roni said he had a generally good relationship with Australia’s consul-general’s office in Bali and was surprised he had not been told of the case, which fell in his jurisdiction.
Mr Davies, who was holidaying with friends in Lombok, is believed to have unwittingly drunk a vodka and lime mix laced with methanol when he became violently ill on New Year’s Day.
He was airlifted to Perth but died at the weekend when his family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support.
Friends say Mr Davies, who lived in Marmion and was a former Churchlands Senior High School student, spent the night drinking at Rudy’s Pub, a popular spot on the main street of Gili Trawangan, the biggest of the three islands north-east of Lombok. At least one other person in the group is also known to have become violently ill.
Yesterday, the bar continued to serve a mix of cocktails, beer and drugs to Australian tourists. The bar, which is a beach shack surrounded by tables, is open 24 hours and is one of the most popular spots on Gili Trawangan.
It boasts that it has the best magic mushrooms on the island.
When The West Australian visited this week, staff mixed “mushroom shakes” in two blenders, while cocaine and marijuana were openly being traded by friends of theirs who were sitting at the bar.
Spirit mixes such as rum and coke and vodka tonic that use local spirits instead of the more expensive imports sold for 12,000 rupiah ($1.15) each.
When asked, the bar staff denied any knowledge of Mr Davies’ death and were hostile when the subject of tainted drinks was raised.
Indonesia has some of the world’s strictest drug laws and several Australian are serving lengthy jail terms for drug possession in nearby Bali.
But on Gili Trawangan there is no permanent police presence and drug use is rampant, with little attempt to hide the problem.