PHNOM PENH, May 25 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia on Friday issued a statement, reiterating that methanol-laced rice wine and contaminated water left 13 people dead and nearly 300 others hospitalized in eastern Cambodia's Kratie province earlier this month.
Villagers at Sre Non and Aloch villages in Kantuot commune of Chitborey district fell ill and died earlier this month after reportedly drinking home-made rice wine and water collected from two canals.
The poisoning case was caused by "locally-made rice wine that was blended with high levels of methanol" and "high levels of chemical substances in Prek Te and O'Koki canals, that resulted from the chemical substances that were used to kill weeds and insects," said the statement.
The statement was jointly signed by Health Minister Mam Bunheng, Industry and Handicraft Minister Cham Prasidh, and Mines and Energy Minister Suy Sem.
The statement was made after local media reported that the poisoning case was caused by cyanide waste that gold mining companies released into the canals.
All rice-wine houses in the two villages had been closed after the incident, Kantuot commune police chief Phon Phea said, adding that the villagers was also advised not to drink the contaminated canal water.