Mongolian president cracks down on vodka

A leading Mongolian vodka brand.
• From Bernama, the Malaysian News Agency

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia -- Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj on Wednesday revoked the licenses of 50 bars and 64 grocery stores in the country's capital to sell vodka, Xinhua news agency said citing local reports.

The licenses for the bars were canceled because of police reports, while grocery stores which sold cheap and low-quality, illegally produced vodka after midnight were also banned from selling alcohol, local reports said.

As the New Year approaches, the president's executive office urged all government organizations to fight against alcoholism and not to use vodka during new year celebrations.

"The President's Office has appealed to all news media organizations not to promote and advertise vodka. We also delivered recommendations to all ministers, the governor of Ulan Bator and speaker of parliament not to buy vodka and other alcoholic drinks with state funds," said Banzaarai Nergui, vice chairwoman of the office.

Alcoholism is rampant in Mongolia as there are 91 vodka distilleries, 12 spirit factories and 24 beer breweries working in the Central Asian country.

More than half of the crimes committed in Mongolia were committed by drunk people.

Elbegdorj started to spearhead the campaign against alcoholism last year and urged the public to drink milk instead of vodka. The president doesn't participate in any event which involves vodka consumption.

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