Balinese man tried for concocting bootleg liquor

IWP (white shirt) stood trial at the Denpasar District Court on April 11, 2022, for producing bootleg liquor. Photo: Obtained.
IWP (white shirt) stood trial at the Denpasar District Court on April 11, 2022, for producing bootleg liquor. Photo: Obtained.

A 43-year-old man stood trial at the Denpasar District Court yesterday for mixing unlicensed alcoholic beverages (locally known as oplosan) and labeling them with famous brands such as Jack Daniel’s, Red Label, and Chivas Regal.

Prosecutor I Made Agus Sastrawan said in his indictment that IWP also affixed counterfeit excise stamps on his “products” and demanded 1 year and 8 months imprisonment as well as IDR1.7 billion (US$118,335) in fine as his punishment.

“If [the defendant] cannot pay the fines, then his assets can be seized by prosecutors to pay them. If it’s not enough then it can be replaced by serving [an additional] four months’ confinement,” Made Agus added.

The court heard that IWP learned his skill from working in an alcoholic beverages factory in Singaraja between 2014 and 2015. He began producing his homemade fake branded alcoholic drinks in April 2020 as the COVID-19 outbreak occurred. IWP reportedly produced the bootleg liquor at a rented house in Denpasar. He also bought fake excise stamps to pass off his products as genuine.

According to a witness, who worked at a cafe in Denpasar that bought 24 bottles of IWP’s “Jack Daniel’s”, each bottle was sold at IDR300,000 (US$21). That is less than 50 percent of the retail price of the genuine product. 

Despite reports of people dying after consuming tainted alcoholic drinks, bootleg liquor remains popular in Indonesia, including in Bali, because of their affordability.

As an illustration, a 700 milliliter bottle of Jack Daniel’s (the legit one, that is) costs at least IDR1.5 million (US$104), while this year’s minimum wage in Bali is around IDR2.5 million (US$174) per month.

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