By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: Two Filipino women reportedly died after allegedly consuming suspected Russian vodka in Kuwait. The two were rushed to Mubarak Hospital along with two male companions, who were also heavily intoxicated when brought to the hospital. According to a source who spoke to Kuwait Times on the condition of anonymity, the two men survived, although one is in critical condition.

“Five of them participated in a drinking session on Thursday evening – two died and one is in critical condition. The other two are okay but are now in the custody of Hawally police,” the source said. When asked for confirmation, a Philippine Embassy official said it has received no such report so far, but added it will verify the incident.

There were similar reports of deaths after allegedly consuming bootleg alcohol in Russia in recent weeks. Russian authorities said on Saturday they had arrested two people as part of an investigation into the death of 18 people. At the beginning of October, at least 36 people died in the region of Orenburg after drinking bootleg alcohol containing methanol, which is highly toxic.

There was no confirmation whether the alcohol allegedly consumed here in Kuwait by this group of Filipinos was similar to that consumed in Russia. Alcohol is strictly prohibited in Kuwait, and any foreign resident caught selling or consuming alcohol is sent to jail and eventually deported. Although the import and sale of alcohol is banned in Kuwait, police frequently arrest people in possession of alcoholic drinks they say they obtained illegally on the black market.