Police released a man suspected of distilling rice wine that is thought to have killed at least 17 people in Kampong Cham province’s Oraing Ov district since Friday because the man said he “didn’t believe his wine caused fatalities”.
District police chief Keo Seanghorn said the suspect, Kim Roeun, 63, was released after questioning.
“We allowed him to go home because he said that he was in the wine business for more than 20 years,” he said.
“He didn’t believe that his wine caused fatalities, so we let him return home after we received permission from the provincial police chief.”
Keo Narith, the director of the provincial hospital, said that no further deaths had been reported, and that three people who were not expected to survive were still receiving treatment.
He said methanol levels in the wine were “abnormally high”.
Methanol is a simple form of alcohol that can cause blood circulation problems and death if ingested by humans.