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Cambodian journalist shot dead while documenting illegal logging

A truck carries logs on a rural road in Preah Vihear province
A truck carries logs on a rural road in Preah Vihear province

AP Photo /Heng Sinith

Journalist Taing Tri, 48, of the local Vealntri newspaper in Kratie province, Cambodia, was shot dead around 1 a.m. on 12 October 2014 as he attempted to document the transportation of illegal luxury wood near Pum Ksem Kang Krow village.

The Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) condemn this murder in the strongest terms possible and call on local authorities to take immediate action to investigate the case and bring the murderers to justice in order to end the cycle of impunity for those who perpetuate violence against journalists in Cambodia.

"Mr. Tri's murder is tragic and cannot go unpunished," said CCIM Executive Director Pa Nguon Teang. "We must bring an end to impunity for those who commit violence against journalists, and we must do it now, starting with Mr. Tri."

According to reports by a CCIM citizen journalist in the area, Tri was shot to death outside of his car on Tuol Punley hill in Pum Ksem Kang Krow village around 1 a.m. Sunday while he was trying to photograph vehicles transporting illegal luxury wood. A Lexus 470 without license plates was found overturned near Tri's vehicle, and two occupants of the Lexus reportedly fled the scene. It is currently unclear what role the occupants of the Lexus may have played in the journalist's death.

Tri is the 13th journalist to be killed in the line of duty since Cambodia's first democratic elections in 1993, and his death bears a disturbing resemblance to the 2012 murder in Ratanakiri province of Heng Serei Oudom, who was known for his reporting on illegal logging activities.

To date, no one has been convicted for the murder of Oudom or any of the other journalists killed in Cambodia over the last 11 years.

What other IFEX members are saying
  • The killing of Taing Try: A journalist investigating illegal wood transportation in Kratie province

    The night of the killing, Taing Try was investigating the illegal transportation of luxury wood with five other journalists. The journalists had allegedly found that 23 oxcarts were transporting illegal timber from Mondulkiri Province to Memut District in Kampong Cham Province then to Vietnam.

  • Journalist probing illegal logging killed in Cambodia

    The assailant, who was identified in news reports as the owner of the logs, attempted to drive away from the scene, but was forced to flee on foot after his vehicle crashed, according to news reports. There were conflicting reports about whether the killer verbally confronted Try before shooting the journalist.

  • Reporter shot dead while investigating illegal logging

    “The fact that some of the people running this lucrative trafficking in timber hold senior positions must not afford them any kind of immunity,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk. “If the three detained suspects really were involved in this shocking murder, we hope they will be tried like anyone else.”

  • Cambodian journalist shot dead for reporting on illegal logging

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