Cambodian journalist shot dead for reporting on illegal logging

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Cambodian Association for the Protection of Journalists (CAPJ) in expressing outrage over the shooting murder of a Cambodian journalist in Ksiem Krao village, in the Snoul district of Kratie province in northeastern Cambodia on Sunday. Two police and one armed forces soldier have been arrested for the murder and the IFJ has called on the Cambodian government to put all efforts to securing justice for the killed journalist and his family.

Early on Sunday, October 13, Traing Try, a 49-year-old journalist who specialized in covering the illegal timber trade industry was shot dead in his vehicle. According to reports, Try was with seven other journalists going to investigate illegal logging near the border with Mondulkiri province. Try and the other journalists came upon several ox carts loaded with timber and led by an alleged timber trader, who is reported to be a police officer name Heing.

After the journalist’s car became stuck in mud on the dirt road, a confrontation with the timber trader ensued. While the other journalists fled the scene, Heing is alleged to have shot Try in the head. His body was later found at around 1.20 am next to his vehicle. A few meters away, the vehicle of the assailant was found overturned in a ditch.

According to reports, three men have been arrested in connection to the murder - a commune police chief, a military police officer and a Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) solider. During questioning all three confessed to been part of the murder and have been sent to Kratie provincial police station awaiting a court hearing.

Provincial prosecutor Ty Sovinthal said: “We suspect that this murder was planned a few days ago as [Try] tipped off the district prosecutor to confiscate timber [from the loggers]”.

The President of CAPJ, Um Sarin said “We condemn the killing of Mr Taing Try and urge authorities to seek the perpetrator be punished by the law. We send condolences to the family of Mr Taing Try.”

The IFJ Asia Pacific acting director Jane Worthington said: “We join CAPJ in condemning the murder of Traing Try and send our condolences to his family and colleagues. We commend the authorities for their quick investigation and subsequent arrests of the perpetrators. We urge authorities and the courts to ensure they are punished and justice is delivered.”

The IFJ has charted a worrying trend in violence against journalists covering environmental stories in South East Asia. In January 2014, Suon Chan was killed during an attack by fisherman following his report on illegal fishing activities in Kampong Chang province. While in 2012, an environmental activist was shot dead while assisting two journalists, and a journalist was brutally murdered in his car after he filed a report on the illegal timber trade in the Ratanakiri province.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

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