Two dead after eating pufferfish in East Java

A pufferfish, known as 'fugu' in Japan, is seen on a chopping board before a chef removes its toxic internal organs at a Japanese restaurant.

Four residents from Maron district in Probolinggo, East Java, were poisoned after eating a pufferfish, killing two of them and leaving two others hospitalised.

Maron Police general crime head Adj. Comr. Sugeng Supriyantoro told on Friday that Baidowi and his wife Suhaina with their two sons Mahfud and Habihulloh had caught and eaten the fish on Wednesday to break their fast.

"Not long after [they ate the fish], they felt dizzy, nauseous and their throat felt warm. The residents then took them to a nearby health centre. Baidowi and Suhaina died that evening while the two others are currently being treated in the hospital" Sugeng said.

Mahfud said he had often eaten pufferfish but had never known that it was poisonous.

"Yes, it is only now that we have been poisoned [by pufferfish] even though we have eaten the same kind of fish before," Mahfud said.

In Japan, the fish is considered a delicacy, called fugu, but only a licensed fugu chef can prepare the fish for consumption.