Nineteen die in China from drinking spiked booze

BEIJING (AP) — Liquor spiked with industrial alcohol killed 19 people and sickened 142 others around the Lunar New Year holiday in central China, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.
Investigators have traced the bad brew to “illegal elements” in Wenshui county, Shanxi province. To every quart of the clear fiery spirits that Chinese prefer, they added just under 13 ounces of cheaper methyl alcohol — 902 times more than national standards allow, Xinhua said.
The brewers then sold the tainted liquor to a privately run shop in Shuozhou city, 180 miles west of Beijing, the news agency said.
People first began falling sick on Jan. 26, two days before the start of the Year of the Tiger, and Xinhua said 142 people are still being treated in hospitals.
Police have detained suspects believed to have made and sold the liquor, but Xinhua did not provide further details on the arrests.
Liquor poisonings occur frequently in China as swindlers take advantage of high demand and lax regulatory supervision.