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Three more die from rice wine poisoning, 31 in hospital

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People poisoned by tainted rice wine on November 28 were being treated at Kampong Chhnang referral hospital. Photo supplied

Three more die from rice wine poisoning, 31 in hospital

The number of people who have died from alcohol poisoning in Kampong Chhnang province’s Teuk Phos district has increased to seven by Monday afternoon.

Police have closed nine locations that were producing and selling alcohol and arrested five people.

Kampong Chhnang provincial Department of Health director Prak Vun told The Post 131 people were poisoned by tainted rice wine. Two people died in the village, two died in transport and two more at the Kampong Chhnang Provincial Referral Hospital. One person passed away at the Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh.

Vun added that three people remained in a critical condition, 31 were being treated at Kampong Chhnang referral hospital and 90 had recovered.

“The police collected the rice wine and stopped production. We don’t know why they still have rice wine to drink,” he said, adding that more people are likely to get alcohol poisoning continuously.

Provincial deputy police chief Ea Bunthoeun told The Post on November 30 that authorities had not officially announced the cause of death. They are waiting on a sample test to return from the Institut Pasteur du Cambodge in Phnom Penh.

He said police are checking establishments that produce rice wine and sell alcohol unpermitted. They have suspended nine places in two districts including Teuk Phos and Kampong Tralach.

“We suspended, explained and advise them. We also detained five people, including one wine producer and four wine sellers,” he said.

Bunthoeun said that authorities are still investigating.

“We try to educate people about public health effects,” he said.

The alcohol poisoning occurred on November 28 at the funeral of two villagers who died due to water poisoning. The preliminary conclusion of the deaths is a high level of methanol.

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