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Vietnamese official dies after drinking alcohol spiked with poison

Friday, April 24, 2020, 17:20 GMT+7
Vietnamese official dies after drinking alcohol spiked with poison
The headquarters of A Au Real Estate Company, where a deadly poisoning incident happened on April 20, 2020, is pictured in Thanh Hoa City, Thanh Hoa Province, Vietnam in this undated file photo. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A civil judgment enforcement official in Vietnam died this week after drinking alcohol allegedly poisoned by a man who later took his own life with the same poison, police said on Thursday.

The victim was Dang Pham Vien, 53, head of the department of civil judgment enforcement of Thanh Hoa City, the capital of Thanh Hoa Province, located in the north-central part of the country.

According to police information, the prime suspect was Tran Xuan Minh, 46, who ran a gold trading and processing business at 50 Quang Trung Street in Thanh Hoa City.

His wife Le Thi Phuong, 38, is the director of A Au Real Estate Company headquartered in the same city.

Conflict recently arose between the couple over business debts and Minh’s suspicion that Phuong was having an affair with another man.

Minh allegedly threatened Phuong several times that he would kill her with chemicals used in gold treatment and commit suicide.

At about 5:15 pm on April 19, Minh brought two liters of alcohol from their house to Phuong’s company to refill alcohol bottles there.

As Minh had visited the company several times before, none of the employees was suspicious of the man’s presence on the premises. 

At around 12:20 pm on the next day, seven people including Phuong and Vien had lunch together at A Au Company.

During the meal, Vien took a sip of alcohol from the bottle Minh had tampered with and fell ill almost immediately.

The official died promptly afterward.

The company’s chairman and accountant suffered less severe poisoning as they had spat out the alcohol after noticing a strange burning sensation in their throats.

The two are now in stable health after receiving emergency treatment at a local hospital.

After witnessing the incident, Phuong suspected Minh had laced the alcohol with poison so she phoned a family member, telling them to prevent him from committing suicide like what he hadthreatened.

After the family member who answered Phuong’s call informed everybody present at the house that someone had died from drinking poisoned alcohol at A Au Company, Minh immediately went to his room, drank a liquid he had prepared beforehand, and collapsed.

The liquid is suspected to have been mixed with poison.

Although he was rushed to the hospital, the husband died shortly afterward.

According to the result of a police investigation, the alcohol at A Au Company that led to Vien’s death contains cyanide, a highly toxic chemical compound.

The lowest reported oral lethal dose for humans is 0.54 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, according to the World Health Organization.

A probe into the case is ongoing.

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