Two more people died on Thursday in a suspected case of alcohol poisoning, bringing the total rice wine death count in Banteay Meanchey to six since Tuesday.
Provincial Department of Health director Le Chang Sangvat identified the latest victims as Vann Chhai, 33, and Huon Cheat, 44. They had symptoms of headaches, dizziness and nausea after drinking the Tang Kuoy-brand rice wine on Tuesday and were sent to the Poipet provincial referral hospital on Wednesday morning.
“They had abnormal heartbeats so we transferred them to the Cambodia-Japan Friendship hospital. Both of them died on Thursday because their conditions were too serious. Twenty-seven other people are being treated in Banteay Meanchey after drinking the rice wine,” he added.
Banteay Meanchey authorities have ordered markets to stop selling Tang Kuoy as the wine is being tested.
San Vichea Saravuth, the director of the provincial Camcontrol department, told The Post on Thursday that his team was working in collaboration with Poipet authorities to retrieve the herbal rice wine.
He said his team had retrieved 350 boxes (12 bottles per box, 0.5l per bottle) of Tang Kuoy. “The rice wine is being stored temporarily at an experimental centre at our Camcontrol department in Poipet waiting for testing on Friday,” he said.
“Until now, we do not know about the source or where it was produced or imported from,” Saravuth said. “This herbal rice wine does not have a trade logo or date of manufacture. If the tests find that there are poisonous substances the owner will face the law.”