Methanol-laced rice wine kills 3 and hospitalises 44 in Cambodia

Locally produced rice wine with high levels of methanol has killed three villagers and hospitalised 44 others in the Kratié province in Cambodia last week.

Rice wine is a popular drink in Cambodia especially in rural areas

Two men and a woman died and 44 others have been admitted into hospital after drinking methanol-laced rice wine, Sambou district police chief Bun Chhoeun told Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Local police and authorities have now shut down rice wine productions in the province indefinitely after the incident, according to Phnom Penh Post.

The incident happened last Wednesday when the villages drank the wine after a rice harvest. Shortly afterwards, they started showing symptoms of dizziness, nausea and breathing difficulties.

The rice wine producer was detained after the casualties were reported. Homemade rice wine is popular in Cambodia especially in rural parts of the country.

In May, methanol-laced rice wine and contaminated water left 13 people dead and nearly 300 others hospitalised in Kratié province.

According to statistics revealed by local authorities, only some 10% of the 761 breweries in Kratié province have been registered legally. The rest are unlicensed illegal family operations.

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