Bogus e-mail does the rounds in Hong Kong First, vinegar makers cashed in on the myth that boiling vinegar banishes Sars. Then cigarette manufacturers saw sales soar in China when word went around that smokers were immune. Now a pub in Hong Kong is trying to draw custom with the rumour that alcohol keeps the virus at bay. A bogus e-mail saying health officials are investigating the Sars-killing ability of beer and wine has been plastered in the windows of a popular Quarry Bay bar. The e-mail was so widely circulated in Singapore that the authorities there were forced to issue an official denial. Now it seems to be doing the rounds in Hong Kong. 'I think alcohol is good for you if you drink in moderation so I half-believe the e-mail,' said East End Brewery bar manager Cora Garcia. 'At least alcohol makes you relaxed. That ought to be good for your health.' The e-mail tells the story of a taxi driver who picked up a fashion designer with Sars. The passenger infected his mother before he died. Singapore police spent a week searching for the driver as he went into hiding and consumed large amounts of alcohol. When he turned himself in, authorities found no trace of the virus. It claimed a Dr Rolland Ten investigated the case and concluded alcohol could kill Sars. The e-mail advises people to 'stay in high spirits, exercise and drink wines'. It said people in wine-drinking countries such as Germany, Australia, the USA and France have greater resistance, while sake-drinking Japanese and Koreans have so far escaped the epidemic. 'Maybe the e-mail sender meant well and wanted to help boost the economy and increase alcohol sales,'' legislator and Medical Association president Lo Wing-lok said. But he cautioned: 'Long-term drinking can weaken immunity and cause liver damage. That can't be good for your body in fighting Sars.'