Cops in Cambodia are blaming toxic wine for the deaths of four people.
Rice wine, believed to have been tainted with a poisonous substance, is also believed to have caused the hospitalization of 10 others, reported The Associated Press.
The 14 victims were sickened on Tuesday and Wednesday in the northwestern province of Banteay Meanchey after drinking the bottled booze consisting of wine and traditional medicine, claimed provincial police chief General Ath Khem.
Potentially lethal, cheap alcoholic beverages are a recurring crisis in Cambodia’s impoverished, rural areas. Several inadvertent poisonings are reported every year, and often the bad booze is improperly distilled and contains methanol, which can be deadly in small amounts, according to The AP.
Rice wine, popular at social functions, is usually brewed from home, but police said this particular noxious batch originated in the capital city of Phnom Penh. For years, this brand has been sold in local markets without incident. The company’s owner is being sought for questioning, according to Ath Khem.
Alcohol samples were collected from the victims to be tested at a laboratory.
In 2018, 14 villagers died and more than 200 other victims fell ill in the northwestern province of Kratie after imbibing methanol-infused rice wine, according to The AP.