Dara, a reporter for the Khmer-language newspaper Koh Santepheap, was fatally shot while leaving a restaurant in the northeastern province of Kompong Cham. Dara had reportedly received threats from local officials who thought he was writing articles for Preap Norn Sar, an opposition newspaper that had reported on corruption in the region. Though a high-ranking army officer was arrested days after the murder, he was released in May 1995 after a provincial judge acquitted him for lack of evidence, according to a report by the news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA). During the trial, the defendant, Col. Sat Soeun, "admitted that he had been drinking with the slain journalist on the day of the murder, but testified that another man had emerged from some bushes and fatally shot Chan Dara in the back" after they left the bar, according to the DPA.