By Bethanie Harriman – EM TV News, Lae
Lae Community Policing Sergeant, Alois Gabuar, said regulation of yeast sold in stores is the only way to deal with uncontrolled production and consumption of illegal alcohol.
The comments come as the Sergeant is of the belief that awareness in communities is doing little to combat rampant homebrew production and consumption.
There are also calls by the Police and Lae’s community to introduce tougher penalties for offenders and longer jail times and bigger fines, of up to K1,000.
Lae’s Central Police Station records nine out 10 cases daily directly relate to homebrew consumption.
On Friday, Sergeant Gabuar said the Sialum settlement clash that carried on last week was caused by homebrew consumption.
In every major Lae supermarket, baking yeast is readily available and can be bought over the counter by anyone.
Yeast is widely used in the manufacturing of illegal alcohol.
A simple distillation technique using recycled gas cylinders, gives an illegal concoction sold as steam, a clear liquid consumed by teenagers and adults.
The production and sale of the illegal alcohol involve men, women and youths struggling to make an income.
On January 7, three women caught by Lae Police in Kamkumung producing and selling steam street valued at an estimated K2,000 worth of steam.