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Couple die after frying and eating poisonous pufferfish for lunch in Malaysia

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Couple die after frying and eating poisonous pufferfish for lunch in Malaysia

  • Ng Chuan Sing and his wife Lim Siew Guan experienced ‘breathing difficulties’
  • Ms Guan died the same day, while her husband fell into a coma for eight days 
  • Their daughter has called for accountability and tighter regulations in Malaysia 

An elderly couple died after frying and eating poisonous pufferfish for lunch in Malaysia.

Ng Chuan Sing and his wife Lim Siew Guan, who were both in their early 80s, inadvertently bought at least two poisonous pufferfish online on March 25, according to authorities in the southern state of Johor.

Ms Guan, 83, began to experience ‘breathing difficulties and shivers’ on the same day that she had fried the pufferfish, while her husband started to show similar symptoms an hour after eating the meal.

Tragically, after both were rushed to intensive care, Ms Guan was pronounced dead at 7pm local time, CNN reports.

Her husband, Mr Sing, 84, fell into a coma for eight days before he died on Saturday morning after his condition deteriorated.

Ng Chuan Sing (right) and his wife Lim Siew Guan (left) were killed after eating a poisonous pufferfish for lunch

Ng Chuan Sing (right) and his wife Lim Siew Guan (left) were killed after eating a poisonous pufferfish for lunch

Ms Guan, 83, began to experience 'breathing difficulties and shivers' on the same day that she had fried the pufferfish (file image), while her husband started to show similar symptoms an hour after eating the meal

Ms Guan, 83, began to experience ‘breathing difficulties and shivers’ on the same day that she had fried the pufferfish (file image), while her husband started to show similar symptoms an hour after eating the meal 

The couple’s daughter, Ng Ai Lee, demanded accountability for her parents’ death as she held a press conference outside their home on Sunday before their funeral.

‘Those responsible for their deaths should be held accountable under the law and I hope the authorities will speed up investigations,’ she said. 

‘I also hope the Malaysian government will beef up enforcement and help to raise public awareness on pufferfish poisoning to prevent such incidents from happening again.’ 

Currently, Malaysian laws prohibit vendors from selling poisonous food such as pufferfish meat, and those caught doing so face fines of up to – or risk being jailed for up to two years. 

Ms Lee also revealed how her father asked about his wife’s welfare shortly before he passed away himself.

‘My father woke up from an eight-day coma,’ she said. ‘The first person he asked for was my mother. We told him she is resting at home.

‘We did not tell him the truth because we were worried that he could not take it but we had a feeling that he knew my mother had died. He cried.’

The daughter of the elderly couple, Ng Ai Lee (pictured), has called for accountability for her parents' death and tougher regulations

The daughter of the elderly couple, Ng Ai Lee (pictured), has called for accountability for her parents’ death and tougher regulations

Ms Lee also revealed how her father (pictured) asked about his wife's welfare shortly before he passed away himself

Ms Lee also revealed how her father (pictured) asked about his wife’s welfare shortly before he passed away himself

She added that seemed to have recovered and had even been transferred to a normal ward on Thursday but after asking about his wife once again, he died yesterday, reportedly from pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in an artery that blocks blood flow to the lung.

Pufferfish, known as ‘fugu’ in Japan, continues to be enjoyed at high-end restaurants in Tokyo despite the severe risks.

Fugu chefs are meant to undergo extensive training for up to three years before they are permitted to prepare the pufferfish for food.

Parts of the fish’s organs, skin, blood and bones contain tetrodotoxin – a deadly poison which can cause horrific symptoms before death. 

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