Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cyanide ‘not a factor in poisoning deaths’

Cyanide ‘not a factor in poisoning deaths’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sick villagers are treated for water poisoning at Kratie Provincial Hospital earlier this month. Photo supplied

Cyanide ‘not a factor in poisoning deaths’

Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem on Monday refuted claims that deaths in the Kratie province contaminated water case earlier this month involved cyanide.

The claim was made three days after Cham Prasidh, the minister of industry and handicrafts, declared the discovery of cyanide in water samples collected from area.

Sem said the Ministry of Environment sent blood from some of the victims to be tested in Singapore and no cyanide was found, but other poisonous substances were, which the Ministry of Health has said were nitric acid and chromium.

A Chinese gold mine near the area has been checked for the use of cyanide.

At least 14 people have died and around 300 hospitalised after the poisonings in Chet Borey district’s Kantuot commune in Kratie province.

Sem said: “For the poisonings in Kratie province, the Ministry of Environment took blood and tested it in Singapore and there is no cyanide in the blood. But it did contain other poisonous substances, which the Ministry of Health said came from herbicides and insecticides.

“A [Ministry of Mines] team took photos of hundreds of herbicide and insecticide cans next to the streams and that [likely] contributed to some extent.”

Sem did not name the forensic department in Singapore where the Ministry of Environment sent the samples for testing.

Sao Sopheap, spokesman for the Environment Ministry, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Um Sotha, spokesman for the Ministry of Industry, told The Post on Tuesday that water samples the ministry brought from the Prek Te and Korki streams for testing contained “cyanide”, but conceded that his ministry had not taken blood for testing.

Kratie provincial authorities and Chet Borey district authorities have said bottled water and food have been taken to the affected villages.

In early May, around 300 people in Sre Norn and Alorch villages in Kantuot commune complained of stomachaches, headaches, neck pain, exhaustion, dizziness and suffocation, and were taken to Kratie Provincial Hospital and Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Bun Heang mocks US, threatens its citizens in scathing open letter

    After being hit with sanctions from the US Department of Treasury, Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang said he would retaliate against any US national who does not respect his country’s sovereignty, has ambitions to invade Cambodia or incites “traitors” in the Kingdom to do

  • Ranariddh 'seriously injured', his wife dies in accident in Preah Sihanouk

    THE wife of former first prime minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh has died. Ouk Phalla succumbed to injuries sustained in a traffic accident on National Road 4 in Preah Sihanouk’s Prey Nub district this morning. She and the prince were immediately rushed to the Preah Sihanouk

  • US slammed over BGU head as Foreign Ministry says sanctions violate international principles

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) has condemned the US Department of Treasury for its sanctions, announced on Tuesday, against Cambodian General Hing Bun Heang for his alleged role in infringing human rights. In a statement, the ministry said it is disturbing