The wounded body of Hang Serei Odom, a reporter for the
Khmer-language Virakchun Khmer Daily, was found in the trunk of his car
at a cashew plantation in the O’Chum district of northeastern Ratanakiri
province, according to news reports. The journalist’s wife had reported
him missing two days earlier after he failed to return from an appointment,
news reports said.
The Cambodia Daily quoted local police chief Song
Bunthanorm as saying that Hang Serei Odom had been hit in the front and back of
the head with an ax. The official said at least two people were involved in the
murder. No suspects were immediately identified.
Hang Serei Odom reported frequently on illegal logging
activities in Ratanakiri province, according to news reports citing the editor
of Virakchun Khmer Daily. In a September 6 report, the journalist had
alleged that a provincial military police officer was involved in the illicit
timber trade and had used military vehicles to smuggle illegally cut logs,
according to news reports.
Despite an official ban on timber exports, illegal logging
activities are rife in Cambodia, and news coverage of the trade has proven to
be extremely dangerous for journalists.