The Straits Times
Published on Sep 20, 2012

Czech government to lift liquor ban after bootleg crackdown


PRAGUE (AFP) - The Czech government plans to lift a ban on strong alcoholic drinks that it imposed after a wave of poisoning deaths, but only when new safety measures are in place, the country's prime minister said.

"All alcohol authorised for sale will require a new excise stamp," as a safety mark, Prime Minister Petr Necas told reporters just before midnight on Wednesday.

Czech bars and drink producers have been counting their losses after the blanket ban on spirits sales hit profits amid an unprecedented wave of alcohol poisonings that has claimed 23 lives.

The problem is bootleg spirits tainted with methanol, which has also left scores of people requiring hospital treatment.