Maker of Wine Product Linked to Seven Deaths on the Run, Officials Say

The manufacturer of a locally-made wine product has eluded authorities after seven people died and another 36 fell ill, including two who remain in serious condition, after drinking the methanol-laced beverage, officials said on Monday.

Heng Mealy, the consumer protection, competition and fraud prevention chief in Phnom Penh, said his officials are preparing a case against the person behind “Taing Kuoy,” the wine product, which was sold in half-liter plastic bottles with a label describing supposed health benefits.

Authorities on Saturday raided a house in Chroy Changvar district’s Bak Kheng commune where the beverage had been manufactured, but the dwelling was closed and officials suspect the owner fled after hearing of the deaths connected to the wine product, Mealy said.

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