At least 23 people were killed in a stampede when hundreds of people stormed a charity event, where free clothes were being distributed.

The incident took place in Mymensingh in central Bangladesh during the early hours of Friday, 10 July when a chewing tobacco factory announced the it was distributing free clothes.

The death toll may increase as more than 50 women have been admitted to hospitals. The victims include 21 women and two children, officials confirmed.

"Too many people came and they were afraid they wouldn't be able to get the clothes so they pushed each other. That's why the stampede occurred," said Mymensingh police officer, Kamrul Islam.

"Some people had taken the bodies of their relatives before police arrived at the scene."

It is common in the country for the rich Bangladeshis to distribute free garments among other things to poor people during Ramadan.

The proprietor of the facility was detained by the police along with seven others. Local authorities have formed separate police teams to investigate the matter.

The death toll was earlier said to be 27, but was later revised after the actual body count was taken. Police estimate more than 1,500 people had gathered outside the facility before dawn.