• Sweden's news in English

Swede's deadly cocktail prompts murder claim

30 Aug 2012, 16:02

Published: 30 Aug 2012 16:02 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"It's so damn important that this comes out. This is a crime. He was murdered," Anna Lundin, the older sister of 28-year-old Johan Lundin, told the Aftonbladet newsaper.

Johan died in June 2012 while vacationing with his fiancée Michaela on Gili Trawangan, an island in southeastern Indonesia popular with backpackers and divers.

What was supposed to be a relaxing vacation on a paradise island quickly turned into a nightmare, however, a few hours after Johan drank a mojito served up at a popular local watering hole.

"I've never felt so awful," Michela recalls Johan telling her when they returned to her hotel.

After an extended fit of vomiting, Johan later lost consciousness while his fiancée took to the streets outside their hotel frantically calling for help.

"Paradise was transformed into hell," Michaela told Aftonbladet.

Eventually, she was able to commandeer a horse-drawn wagon in a futile attempt to get Johan to hospital.

"It was already too late. When he got to the clinic, they tried to revive him. I held his hand and could tell it was cold," she told the paper.

"You don't want to see someone you love die in front of your eyes. It's the most awful thing that can happen."

Instead of a run-of-the mill rum cocktail, Johan had downed a drink mixed with local moonshine which contained methanol, a form of alcohol which is toxic to humans.

His autopsy report confirmed that he had extremely high levels of methanol in his body, but that he was otherwise free of traces of other drugs or foreign substances.

"I don't know if it's a lack of knowledge that makes them use methanol in their spirits instead of ethanol, or if it just boils down to money," Johan's mother Monica, told Aftonbladet.

Methanol is normally used in fuels, as a solvent, and is found in antifreeze. If consumed, it can cause blindness, coma and death.

Excise taxes on alcohol imported into Indonesia can be as high as 200 percent, which has resulted in home distilling operations which can yield moonshine containing methanol.

Back in 2011, another Swedish tourist, Rasmuss Lindholm, died from methanol poisoning after drinking locally-produced moonshine.

Lindholm's death prompted the Swedish foreign ministry to add language to its travel information about Indonesia referencing recent fatalities and urging Swedes to be cautious about consuming alcohol in the country.

But according to foreign ministry spokesperson Anders Jörle, there isn't much more the Swedish government can do.

"There's no way to eliminate the risk with information," he told The Local.

He explained that the deaths of Lindholm and Johan Lundin are the only two cases he's aware of in which Swedish citizens have died from methanol poisoning in Indonesia.

"But there have been cases of citizens from other countries who have also died," he added.

Story continues below…

He emphasized Swedish tour operators also have a role to play in keeping travelers informed about the risks they face while on holiday.

"But we can't dictate how they choose to do this," said Jörle.

Nevertheless, Johan's family is adamant that better information about methanol poisoning deaths in Indonesia would have likely saved the holidaying Swede's life.

"If Johan and Michaela had known about this, it never would have happened," said his sister Anna.

"He can't have died for nothing."

David Landes

Follow David Landes on Twitter

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

20:32 August 30, 2012 by johan rebel
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:35 August 30, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Another tragedy and senseless loss.
22:53 August 30, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
One way to keep travellers informed would be to force all travel websites to print warnings on e-tickets and real tickets for flights to Indonesia about the dangers of local methanol use, like showing people with mouth cancer on cigarette packages.

And for people who cannot live without a drink, and who insist on going to Indonesia anyway, a methanol test kit could save their lives.
23:05 August 30, 2012 by Vitas
I want inform everybody. I traveled in a lot of countries in south-west Asia. By hitchhaiking. Indinesia is the most unfriendly country. Even in Denpassar situation just little better. It is 99% muslim country - they dont drink alcohol.
08:30 August 31, 2012 by robban70226
Very sad but no sympathy from my side He obviously was so stupid wanting to get drunk and he got what he wanted and more, Must be a Swede getting use to get drunk out his ass and others to take care, RIP
12:33 August 31, 2012 by escalation666
Robban, you are a total idiot blaming a death by poisoning on the fact he is a Swede on vacation and ordered a drink, stating he got what he deserved !! And then you have the audacity to say RIP??

Not all swedes are drunks. People, regardless of what country they come from, do tend you have a drink when on vacation. The article is more about warning swedes to take notice of Indonesia and the fact they are brewing there own alcohol with methanol and serving in tourist bars.

This man died for absolutely no reason. My heartfelt sympathies to his family and fiancee.
15:30 November 7, 2012 by caradeburca
Can the mother of one of the 2009 victims of arak poisoning on Lombok who wrote on this site please please get in contact with me? We have an inquest coming up with a family member who is a suspected victim of arak poisioning on Lombok island. caradeburca@gmail.com
Today's headlines
Meet Sweden's lonely Donald Trump voter
A Donald Trump campaign button. Photo: Rogelio V Solis/AP

The Local talks to an American Donald Trump supporter on what it is like living in progressive stronghold Sweden.

Forgotten Ingmar Bergman script to be made into a film
It's thought the script was part of an ill-fated collaboration between Bergman (left) and Federico Fellini (right). Photo: AP

Written in 1969, the script is 'up to the standard of his best', according to the Ingmar Bergman Foundation.

Sweden's consumption footprint 'among the worst'
Trucks transporting goods on a Swedish highway. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden has been criticized for its unsustainable consumption of the planet's resources in the latest edition of a major WWF study.

Video: How to be Joel Kinnaman for a day
Kinnaman with one of the camera rigs that will allow people inside his head. Photo: Tele2

The Swedish Hollywood actor will strap a camera to his head, stream it live and allow viewers to interact with him this weekend.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
How Stockholm's cold climate boosts creativity
Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

Do long, dark winters actually make Swedes more creative and more productive? We spoke to Stockholm startups to find out.

Sweden to keep record-low interest rate in 2017
Sweden's landmark negative interest rate will continue towards 2018. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The Swedish central bank said that it will take longer than expected to reach its inflation target.

Presented by Stockholm University
9 unexpected programmes at Stockholm University
Photo: Niklas Björling

Did you know Stockholm University offers 75 master's programmes taught in English? And some of them are programmes you won't find anywhere else...

Creepy clown messes with the wrong dog walker in Sweden
Not the clown in the story. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

A dog helped its owner fight off a creepy clown chasing the pair in southern Sweden.

A million Swedes are digitally excluded: report
How should Sweden bridge the digital divide? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Tech-savvy Swedes? Perhaps not. A new study suggests that at least a million of its residents feel the pain of the digital divide.

Malmö's 19th Swedish title sets Champions hopes alight
Malmö fans celebrating after the match. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

Malmö FF have their eyes set on the Champions League after winning the Swedish league for the 19th time.

Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 26th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available