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35 Dead, 192 Poisoned by Fake Chinese Liquor

August 21, 1996

BEIJING (AP) _ Thirty-five people died and 192 were poisoned in southwestern China after drinking liquor spiked with industrial alcohol, an official newspaper reported today.

The China Youth Daily said Li Rongping of Huize County found he could make more money selling a mix of drinkable ethyl alcohol and poisonous methyl alcohol, which sells for a third of the price.

After he tested a batch of booze on one person without obvious harmful effects, Li made 7 tons of the liquor, it said. But he and his wife Jiang Hongmei left town just as the first bottles went on sale.

The first death occurred June 27. As more reports of deaths and complaints of headaches, dizziness and fatigue poured in, Yunnan province and central government officials ordered an investigation.

By July 13, 35 people had died, all of them peasants and all but one, men.

Li and Jiang have been arrested, the report said.

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