Two die after eating deadly puffer fish

August 16 2004 at 08:10AM 

Phnom Penh - Two men have been fatally poisoned in northwestern Cambodia after eating toxic puffer fish bought from a local fisherman, media reported on Monday. 

Keb Saroeun, 39, and Kim Vit, 44, died shortly after sharing four of the deadly fish for lunch last Wednesday in Oddar Meanchey province, which borders Thailand, Khmer-language newspaper Kampuchea Thmey (New Cambodia) reported. 

"The two men bought the puffer fish to cook for lunch from a fisherman who caught them in Stun Sreng river," the newspaper quoted an eyewitness as saying. 

Three of their friends meanwhile were taken ill after eating other freshwater fish caught in the river. Authorities reportedly said the fish may have ingested poisonous fruit floating in the waterway. 

Local health officials have publicly advised people to temporarily stop eating fish caught in the area, the report added. 

Before it is fit for consumption, the puffer fish, a delicacy in some parts of Asia, must have its skin, blood, eyes, liver, kidney and intestines removed. - Sapa-AFP