Veteran journalist reported missing in Cambodia

Bangkok, February 19, 2014–Cambodian authorities must thoroughly investigate the disappearance of Canadian journalist Dave Walker, who went missing on Friday under mysterious circumstances in the country’s western Siem Riep province, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Walker, a veteran freelance journalist and co-founder of the Animist Farm Films film production company, was last seen leaving his room at the Green Village Angkor Guesthouse at around 2 p.m. on Friday, according to a Phnom Penh Post report. He left his room to allow the guesthouse’s housekeeping staff to clean it, and left behind his mobile phone, laptop computer, passport, and other personal belongings, other news reports said.

Sonny Chhuon, a co-founder of Animist Farm Films, told the Phnom Penh Post that he had checked with local clinics and restaurants that Walker was known to patronize but that no one had seen him. “I don’t think he went anywhere by himself. I think something is wrong,” Chhuon was quoted saying in the news report.

Animist Farm Films was working on a film about a man who saved scores of families from the Khmer Rouge, reports said.

Yut Sinin, a Siem Riep provincial immigration police officer, told the Phnom Penh Post that Walker left no clues of his whereabouts. He said the Australian embassy, which handles Canada’s consular affairs in Cambodia, had filed an official missing persons report on the case, the reports said.

Cambodian police and Canadian consular officials were both investigating Walker’s disappearance, according to news reports.

“We are deeply concerned by the disappearance of veteran journalist Dave Walker,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “We call on the relevant Cambodian authorities to leave no stone unturned in their investigation.”