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‘Rice wine’ kills three

Three people have died after drinking what is believed to be a bad batch of wine, causing approximately 10 others to fall faint and many more to rush to a local clinic to be checked out, according to police in Tbong Khmum province’s Ponhea Krek district.

The deaths happened in Kok commune, Ta Aim village, after the victims drank rice wine they had bought from local stores.

“On Sunday, two people died, one at his home, and another woman in hospital,” said Ponhea Krek district police chief Orm Monyvann. “On Tuesday, one more man died after he drank wine, but the doctor has not established the cause of death yet.”

All told, 24 villagers, including three monks, claimed symptoms as news of the deaths spread.

“They felt scared when they realised three people had died and this made them sick, so they went to Kampong Cham Provincial Hospital,” Monyvann added.

Health officials and police have already collected rice wine from the three stores that supplied the drinkers, and tested it to see if it was poisonous.

“We don’t know the result yet,” Monyvann said. “We cannot be absolutely sure that those three people died due to drinking rice wine because 70 per cent of the villagers drink [the same wine].”

The villagers who died were Chan Sarun, 66, Muth Pheng, 40, and Som Vuth, 36.

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