A 49-year-old man with diabetes mellitus and alcoholic liver cirrhosis presented with dyspnoea and fever. A chest computed tomography scan revealed three areas of loculated pleural effusion. Initially, the patient was thought to have an intrapleural empyema and was treated with intravenous antibiotics and closed drainage. However, as he did not improve, he was then treated with open drainage. During open drainage, the patient was diagnosed to have an extrapleural empyema and improved following open drainage treatment.