Six people have been questioned over the production of poisonous rice wine, as the death toll attributed to the bad wine rose to 15 over the weekend in Kampong Chhnang, police said yesterday.
Morm Malai, deputy chief of the Kampong Chhnang provincial health department, said two people passed away late on Thursday night, and an additional two on Friday morning, bringing the total to 15 deaths.
He added that 78 villagers had been hospitalised, but as of 5pm yesterday afternoon, only nine remained in hospital. “Now we are going to the commune to educate them not to drink wine,” he said.
Chun Tharith, deputy chief of Kampong Chhnang provincial police, said the rice wine producer suspected of manufacturing the fatal brew arrested on Thursday was still being detained by police.
An additional five people – two rice wine producers, one ingredient vendor and two wine vendors – were questioned. All were released, though the first three remain under police supervision.
“We will file the document to the court if we find concrete evidence against them, but now we are waiting for the results from the laboratory,” he said.
“I got primary information from the Ministry of Health that eight samples of the wine were found to contain high levels of a poisonous substance.”
A warning from the Ministry of Health on December 9, said that drinking wine with high methanol levels could lead to death as well as symptoms of dizziness and difficulty breathing.