Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kampot puts lid on wine production after nine die

Kampot puts lid on wine production after nine die

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A villager receives care after being hospitalised for wine poisoning in Kampot province’s Kampong Trach district. Facebook

Kampot puts lid on wine production after nine die

The Kampong Trach district administration in Kampot province has decided to temporarily ban the production, import and export, and distribution of rice wine, while two winery owners were arrested on suspicion of making and selling wine containing high levels of a toxic chemical that have killed nine villagers.

Kampong Trach district governor Aun Khon told The Post on May 25 that seven rice wineries and other rice and herbal wine stalls located in Russey Srok Kang Koeut and Kampong Trach Kang Koeut communes had been shut down. Wine from other areas is also prohibited.

“To find out the cause of death and illness of villagers over the past three or four days, we need to place a ban on wine establishments in these two communes,” he said.

According to Khon, nine people have died and 37 others fallen ill from a gathering to drink wine at a funeral in the commune’s Thnong village on May 21.

“Officials from the Kampot provincial health department and Kampot provincial police suspected that this was alcohol poisoning and arrested two winery owners who sold wine to the funeral house for questioning and confiscated wine for testing,” Khon said.

Chey Chim, 65, the father of the two men detained for questioning, told the The Post that there was nothing toxic in the wine that his son and son-in-law had made. The wine was produced using traditional methods.

“A few days ago, the dead man’s nephew bought 30 litres of wine from my son for funeral guests, but I know that my son’s wine was not toxic,” he said.

Chim called on the authorities to find out the truth before deciding to charge his relatives and allow his family to open the winery if they cleared the wine.

Provincial health department director Nha Bunthorn told The Post that wine confiscated from the funeral and the winery, including wine sold in the two communes, had been sent to the National Health Laboratory for testing on the morning of May 25.

“We have not determined the methanol content of the samples, as the results have not been released yet,” he said.

He added that the dead bodies were tested to see whether they had Covid-19, but the result came back negative. Of the 37 people hospitalised, 19 have recovered and returned home on May 25.

Yun Phally, Kampot provincial coordinator of rights group Adhoc, supported the district authority’s action.

“What’s important now is to ban the production, export and import and distribution of rice and herbal wine in risky areas and find the truth to avoid punishing the innocent.”

Social and political analyst Lao Mong Hay urged the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly to approve the draft law on the control of alcohol products which the Ministry of Health drafted and submitted to the council for review and approval in 2015.


  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four

  • US' Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines arrive

    The first batch of 455,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine donated by the US touched down in Phnom Penh on the morning of July 30. They are part of the total 1,060,100 doses the US has pledged to provide to Cambodia through the World Health Organisation-led (

  • Governor: Covid subsides in capital

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng said the Covid-19 situation in the capital’s 14 districts has eased, with only two districts still recording a high number of infections. “Transmission cases in all districts are dropping, though they are relatively higher Meanchey and Por Sen Chey.