Police today raided an illegal brewing outlet in Thamel, Kathmandu Metropolitan City-26, and arrested a Chinese national for producing and supplying hooch.

According to Metropolitan Police Crime Division, the clandestine brewing outlet was operated by Shi Zhiwei, 56, of Jiangsu, China, in a rented house without getting registered with the concerned entity. Acting on a tip-off served by the locals, police swung into action leading to his arrest.

Superintendent of Police Krishna Prasad Koirala said four machines used for brewing moonshine, 193 plastic drums and nearly 10,000 litres of hooch and raw materials were also confiscated from the outlet. The Chinese national had also been running 'Home Sweet Smell Hotel & Restaurant Pvt Ltd' in Thamel to cover up his unauthorised activities.

According to police, it has stepped up a campaign to dismantle the brewing outlets and discourage the production, supply and consumption of moonshine throughout the country, including in Kathmandu valley. The crackdown comes after the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Inland Revenue Department sounded an alarm over hooch-related crimes and non-taxpayer brewing outlets.

The illegal brewing outlets often use raw materials unfit for human consumption and harmful chemicals to increase the potency of bootleg liquor. Police said the locals had supported the anti-hooch campaign as it was a leading cause of family disputes, domestic violence and other crimes.

Production, sale and consumption of hooch is rife in urban areas and among people who cannot afford licensed liquor. Health authorities have repeatedly warned people against consuming home-brewed tainted liquor, saying its impact on health could be disastrous.

Studies show such liquor may be laced with methanol which could send the drinkers into coma and cause them permanent blindness immediately. The Chinese bootlegger has been handed over to Maharajgunj-based Inland Revenue Office.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 31 2021, of The Himalayan Times.