Two elderly men died on Saturday in Kampong Cham province and a third man was hospitalised after drinking poisoned rice wine that had been kept in storage since 2008, police said yesterday.
Srei Santhor district police chief Theng Sreng said Kun Limkey, 78, and Koeng Leangheang, 62, had met at the pub of their friend Chhun You, 57, in Prek Dambouk commune.
After a coffee at about 10:40am, Limkey and Leangheang asked You to crack open the wine – spiked with geckos and spiders for “good health” – which You had been preserving since receiving it as a gift from a former district governor four years earlier.
“They immediately began vomiting and suffered complete paralysis. Limkey tried to drive his motorbike to his home, which was about 150 metres from pub. He died when he arrived at home in a fit of vomiting blood,” Santhor said.
“The other two drank lemons with sugar to try to get rid of the poison. They were then sent to the district hospital after they were not better,” he said.
Leangheang passed away at the hospital and You, who is in serious condition with quadriplegia, was sent to Vietnam for treatment yesterday.
This is not the first occurrence of fatal wine poisoning in Kampong Cham.
In 2010, 17 people died after drinking tainted rice wine.
Ministry of Health officials said that they had died because the wine they were drinking consisted of a fatally high proportion of methanol.
To contact the reporter on this story: Phak Seangly at [email protected]