Suspected tainted wine kills 4, sickens 10 in Cambodia

Four people died and 10 others were hospitalized in Cambodia after drinking rice wine that police believe was adulterated with a toxic substance.

The people were stricken Tuesday and Wednesday in the northwestern province of Banteay Meanchey after drinking the bottled beverage, which consisted of wine mixed with traditional medicine, provincial police chief Gen. Ath Khem said.

Dangerous cheap but powerful alcoholic drinks are a perennial problem in Cambodia’s poor rural areas, and several accidental poisonings are reported each year. Often the alcohol is not distilled properly and contains methanol, which can kill even in small amounts.

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