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Wine-making facility closed after a string of methanol poisoning

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Authorities close the facility responsible for the production of the toxic wine, “Tang Kuoy”. Koh Santepheap

Authorities yesterday moved to close the facility producing the “Tang Kuoy” wine, located in the capital’s Chroy Changva district as a case is in the process of being lodged against the said facility. The decision comes after seven people died and another 37 were hospitalised in Banteay Meanchey province following consumption of the herbal wine.

Heng Mealy, director of the Municipal Department of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Prevention, said yesterday that officials conducted an inspection of the premises on Saturday.

“We found evidence of wine products destroyed or drained in an attempt to dispose of the contents. Containers, where the wine was mixed, were also found,” said Mr Mealy.

He added a search is underway for the facility’s owner, Ngon Chakea, who managed to escape from the authorities.

“The Municipal Consumer Protection Department is currently collating documents and evidence so a case can be filed at the court as soon as possible,” said Mr Mealy, who noted the department has been cooperating with other authorities to pull out the wine from the market to prevent any more cases of poisoning.

A report from the Banteay Meanchey provincial consumer protection department last week said a total of 10,304 bottles have been seized from 65 locations in Malai district and Poipet city. Closer examination of the product revealed it contained high levels of methanol of over 0.35 percent, which can prove fatal when consumed in large amounts.

Provincial health department director Le Chansangvath said as of yesterday, 44 people have been poisoned from consuming the herbal wine. The figure includes seven fatalities and 37 hospitalisations, of whom 33 had already recovered.

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