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12 sickened by rice containing rat poison in south China
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21:45, June 30, 2008

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Twelve people, including a 7-year-old girl and a pregnant woman, are in hospital after eating poisoned rice at a diner in Haikou, capital of south China's island province of Hainan, local health official said on Monday.

Police are investigating the possibility that the poisoning was deliberate after lab tests identified rat poison in the food.

Lin Haining, Communist Party of China secretary of the Haikou city health bureau, said on Monday the incident was reported at about 8:40 p.m. on Saturday at the Fuxia restaurant in Fucheng Township, Qiongshan district.

The symptoms of the victims included vomiting, convulsions and passing out. Witnesses said one person vomited blood. One of the victims said he ate roast duck, bamboo shoots and rice for dinner, and didn't know which contained the poison.

The victims, mostly in their twenties, are being treated in three hospitals in Haikou. Six, including the pregnant woman, are in critical condition.

The provincial and city disease prevention experts said samples from the victims had been tested and found to contain rat poison, and they believed the rice was contaminated.

The city and district police officers who joined the investigation said they suspected the poisoning was deliberate.

Source: Xinhua



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