A rice wine producer from Pursat province who is suspected of manu-facturing poisonous wine that claimed the lives of six people and left 15 others seriously ill was detained for questioning yesterday by provincial police.
Chhorn Chhean, director of medical examination for the Pursat provincial pol-ice, said Mut Chamnab, a 49-year-old from Veal Veng district, had been taken in for questioning while officers searched his property for poisonous materials.
Everyone who drinks too much methanol will die
“During the search, we found some methanol that we suspect is responsible for poisoning the villagers. If we find out that he purposely poisoned the wine, he will be arrested and sent to court,” Chhorn Chhean said.
“We have sent the mater-ials [from the suspect’s residence] to be tested in Phnom Penh,” he added.
Police said the suspect had refused to co-operate with the ongoing investigation and had stonewalled interrogating officers regar-ding the poisonings.
Chhorn Chhean said investigating officers would give the suspect 48 hours to co-operate and respond to questioning before he would be officially arrested and sent to the provincial court.
Khlem Sokoun, director of the provincial health department, said yesterday he believed the rice wine was poisoned because its manufacturer used too much methanol during its production, which could create high levels of toxicity.
“Everyone who drinks too much methanol will die,” Khlem Sokhoun said.
Over the course of the past week, poisoned rice wine has killed four drinkers in Pursat’s Veal Veng district and two others in the Phnom Kravanh district.
Fifteen others have fallen seriously ill from contamin-ated alcohol.