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Herb seller charged over man’s death

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
The herbs were mixed with rice wine and led to the death of a man. Supplied

Kampot Provincial Court has charged a herbal supplement seller over the accidental death of a man who mixed the supplements with rice wine and downed the brew prematurely.


Khan Sophal, deputy prosecutor and a spokesman for the provincial court, said yesterday that Ung Chhorn was arrested and charged with unintentional murder on Wednesday.

“We decided to charge him with unintentional murder and we sent him to the provincial prison,” he said.

On February 14, a man died and another was sent to hospital in Vietnam after they drank rice wine and ate dog meat in Teuk Chhou district.

Deputy district police chief Sou Buntheoun said last week that the victims bought the rice wine and mixed it with a variety of herbal supplements 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 explained 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 seller told them, causing them to be poisoned.

He identified the deceased as Sam Vanna, 59, who died on the way to hospital, and the other victim as Houth, 50.

Mr Vanna’s son, Chin Sovannarith, issued a letter to clarify that his father did not die from the dog meat as some people said, but from being poisoned from the supplements.

“On February 14 at 8.30am I saw Ung Chhorn come to my house with a package of herbs that he sold to my father. He quickly left after seeing me, but I did not pay much attention to the package,” he said in the letter.

He added that at 11.30am, he saw his father pour rice wine into a glass that contained the herbal supplement and it turned dark red. At about 5.10pm, his father began pouring the concoction to drink with his friend, but they fell sick after only one glass.

“I tried to send them to the provincial hospital for help and then we sent them to hospital in Vietnam, but my father died because he was so seriously ill,” said Mr Sovannarith. “My father did not die because he ate dog meat, but because of the herbal supplement.” 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.

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