Source: Xinhua 2016-12-08 22:17:20 More
PHNOM PENH, Dec. 8 (FN) -- 13 villagers had died and over 60 others hospitalized in northern Cambodia after they drank locally-made rice wine, which is suspected of containing "high levels of methanol", a local police officer said Thursday.

"Thirteen people had subsequently died since last week after they drank tainted rice wine, which was sold in their villages," Liv Bunsong, deputy police chief of Kampong Chhnang province's Teuk Phos district, where the incident took place, told Xinhua.

"The victims had the same symptoms: dizziness, eye irritation, nausea, diarrhea, and breathing difficulty," he said.

Besides the dead persons, over 60 others had been admitted to hospitals as of Thursday evening, Bunsong said.

He said a rice wine producer in the district had been detained for questioning, as a sample of the tainted wine was sent to the provincial food safety bureau for an examination.

Checks on food are rare in the Southeast Asian nation, where safety regulations are lax.

In December last year, contaminated rice wine killed 19 people and sickened 172 others in eastern Kratie province. Laboratory tests found that the tainted wine contained methanol levels between 10.57 percent and 12 percent, much higher than the safe level of 0.15 percent.

Rice wine is popular in rural areas in Cambodia due to its cheap price.