At least one man died and another was sent to hospital after they drank rice wine and ate dog meat on Wednesday evening in Kampot province’s Teuk Chhou district.
Sou Buntheoun, Teuk Chhou district deputy police chief, said yesterday that the victims bought the rice wine and mixed it with many herbal supplements for about an hour prior to drinking it.
“We questioned the herbal supplement seller about what kinds of herbs the victims put into the rice wine. He said that those herbs were poisonous and the drinkers needed to soak them in the rice wine for at least seven to ten days before drinking it in order to make it safe,” he said.
Mr Buntheoun said the victims did not follow what the herbal seller told them, causing them to be poisoned.
“We did not arrest or detain the herbal supplement seller. We just asked him about the case,” said Mr Buntheoun, adding that he informed leaders in all of his communes to instruct villagers to learn from the tragedy.
Mr Buntheoun identified the deceased as Sam Vanna, 59, who died on the way to hospital and the other victim as Houth, 50.
Kim Mouy, the wife of Mr Vanna, said yesterday that she was in Phnom Penh when her husband died.
“My children told me that after my husband drank the wine, he looked weaker and weaker. My children sent him to the provincial hospital and they tried to help him,” she said.
Ms Mouy noted that her husband did not usually drink rice wine and she would have warned him of its dangers had she been with him at home.
Last week, the Health Ministry asked people to be careful when purchasing rice wine for Chinese New Year following two deaths and more than ten cases of poisoning from rice wine consumption in 2017.
According to a report by the communicable disease control department, there were 13 cases of rice wine poisoning in 2017, one of which caused two deaths in Mondulkiri province.
In 2016, there were 92 cases of rice wine poisoning and 15 deaths in Kampong Chhnang province.
In 2015, there were 284 cases of rice wine poisoning and 33 deaths in Tboung Khmum, Kratie and Mondulkiri provinces.