Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Deadly wine claims 11: cops

Deadly wine claims 11: cops

Residents of Kampong Cham’s Domnak Ampil village recover after falling victim to a noxious batch of rice wine. Fresh news
Residents of Kampong Cham’s Domnak Ampil village recover after falling victim to a noxious batch of rice wine. Fresh news

Deadly wine claims 11: cops

Police in Kampong Chhnang yesterday detained a man for questioning over a noxious batch of rice wine they say has claimed 11 lives since November and hospitalised 60 others.

Kong Sam Ol, Teuk Phos district deputy police chief, said the first death occurred on November 3 in Domnak Ampil village. Other deaths followed, including four this month, but the cause remained a mystery.

It wasn’t until several mourners died after drinking rice wine at a funeral – held, ironically, for another suspected victim of the same tainted drink – that villagers and authorities began to put the pieces together.

Ly Channy, Kraing Skear commune health centre chief, said yesterday alone 51 people were referred to Kampong Chhnang Provincial Hospital with symptoms linked to the fatal rice wine, including difficulty breathing, stomachaches and high blood pressure.

Channy said she and other doctors believed the 11 fatalities – seven in November and four so far this month – were linked to the rice wine consumption, but they were still waiting on the beverage to be tested for a conclusive result.

Seng Siet, a villager in Kraing Skea commune, said his brother-in-law had been rushed to hospital yesterday after he and a neighbour imbibed half a litre of the suspicious wine.

Siet said his brother-in-law suffered some similar symptoms to the deceased, including stomach pangs, shortness of breath and dizziness. “We suspect he was poisoned by the rice wine, but we don’t know which shop it came from because there are many places making it in the commune,” he said.

His brother-in-law was transferred to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh, but Siet said his drinking partner had not experienced any symptoms yet. Sam Ol said investigations into the production of the wine had begun, but was not willing to name anyone as a suspect at this early stage.

“One manufacturer has been brought for questioning,” he said. Sam Ol said the interrogation led authorities to suspect the man had used the “wrong formula” to make the wine.

Ly Virak, deputy provincial police chief, said the man in question – whom he refused to name – was in custody and being questioned at the district police station and will today be taken to provincial headquarters for further interrogation.

MOST VIEWED

  • WHO: Covid in Cambodia goes into new phase

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia said that Cambodia has reached a new phase of the pandemic with “decreasing case numbers, high vaccination coverage and a more transmissible circulating variant threatening a hidden surge”. In a press release on September 6, the WHO said that

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • 'Pursue your goals, reach out to me': Young diplomat tapped as envoy to South Korea

    Chring Botum Rangsay was a secretary of state at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation before being designated as the new Cambodian ambassador to South Korea. According to her official CV published on the foreign ministry’s website, she started her first government

  • International air visitor arrivals dip 93%

    The number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia through the Kingdom’s three international airports witnessed a sharp 92.5 per cent year-on-year decline in the first seven months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism. The airports handled 51,729 international tourists in the January-July period versus

  • School reopening ‘offers model for other sectors’

    World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan said school reopening process should be used as a role model for reopening other sectors currently mothballed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Li strongly supports the government’s decision to reopen schools, saying it is a decision

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in