Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kampong Chhnang distilleries, vendors shut in poison wine scare

Kampong Chhnang distilleries, vendors shut in poison wine scare

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Officials inspect facilities and analyse local rice wine in the wake of illnesses and deaths from rice wine poisoning in Kampong Chhnang province on November 29, 2020. CCF Photo

Kampong Chhnang distilleries, vendors shut in poison wine scare

Kampong Chhnang provincial authorities have ordered the temporary closure of local rice wine producers and distributors to give officials time to inspect facilities and analyse their products in the wake of illnesses and deaths from rice wine poisoning.

Provincial deputy police chief Ea Bunthoeun told The Post on December 10 that the governor had ordered an injunction against the production and sale of rice and herbal wines across the province.

“We don’t know when their facilities and businesses might reopen,” he said.

He added that the police have detained nine people involved with the case of rice wine poisoning in Teuk Phos district and sent them to the provincial court. They have been charged with manslaughter.

He said that the provincial authorities have shut down 515 rice wine distilleries and 1,115 rice and herbal wine vendors. Experts must monitor standard rice wine production so that it will not endanger drinkers. The poisoned wines were found to contain high concentrations of methanol, far in excess of the legal limit of 0.15 per cent.

“It is the habit of citizens that they have always drunk rice wine from shops after ending work. But this has been the largest-ever case of rice wine poisoning, and it seems people’s awareness of associated risks has improved,” Bunthoeun said.

Over 130 people were poisoned with tainted wines in Teuk Phos and other districts in Kampong Chhnang in recent weeks, killing 15 people.

Authorities across the province have been spreading messages of the dangers of tainted rice wine and the importance of Covid-19 prevention over loudspeakers every day in all districts.

On December 10, the Ministry of Health issued a press release on measures to prevent rice wine, herbal wine and food poisoning, urging caution.

“Citizens, please immediately stop drinking rice wine or herbal wine that is bought from an unclear source. The products might not have been inspected properly, and their quality in local communities might be substandard,” health minister Mam Bun Heng said.

He stressed that rice wine producers must not blend methanol compounds into their products as that results in poisoning and deaths.

The minister also advised citizens who may have been poisoned by wines or food to visit a local health centre for treatment.


  • Joy as Koh Ker Temple registered by UNESCO

    Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on September 17. The ancient temple, also known as Lingapura or Chok Gargyar, is located in

  • Famed US collector family return artefacts to Cambodia

    In the latest repatriation of ancient artefacts from the US, a total of 33 pieces of Khmer cultural heritage will soon return home, according to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. In a September 12 press statement, it said the US Attorney’s Office for the

  • Tina rebuffs ‘false claims’ over falling paddy price

    Agriculture minister Dith Tina has shed light on the trade of paddy rice in Battambang – Cambodia’s leading rice-producing province – in a bid to curb what he dubs a “social media fact distortion campaign” to destabilise the market. While acknowledging that the prices of paddy

  • Cambodia set to celebrate Koh Ker UNESCO listing

    To celebrate the inscription of the Koh Ker archaeological site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, the Ministry of Cults and Religion has appealed to pagodas and places of worship to celebrate the achievement by ringing bells, shaking rattles and banging gongs on September 20. Venerable

  • Kampot curfew imposed to curb ‘gang’ violence

    Kampot provincial police have announced measures to contain a recent spike in antisocial behaviour by “unruly’ youth. Officials say the province has been plagued by recent violence among so-called “gang members”, who often fight with weapons such as knives and machetes. Several social observers have

  • PM outlines plans to discuss trade, policy during US visit

    Prime Minister Hun Manet is set to meet with senior US officials and business leaders during his upcoming visit to the US for the UN General Assembly (UNGA), scheduled for September 20. While addressing nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province, Manet said he aims to affirm