Suon Chan, 44, who worked for the little-known and infrequently published Meakea newspaper, died from his injuries after he was attacked by two men with bamboo poles on Friday night in Kompong Chhnang province’s Cholkiri district, his employer said Monday.
Sieng Seng, who published Meakea infrequently, said that Suon Chan was likely the target of the attack following stories on illegal fishing in the area.
Prak Vuthy, deputy provincial police chief, on Monday said police were still investigating the case and the possible motive for the attack.
“Penal police are working to find the suspects,” he said.
According to Mr. Seng, Suon Chan was attacked near his house. Upon hearing his shouts for help, his brother Suon Chhoem, 22, and another villager, Enth Ko, 27, ran to his aid but were also beaten by the two men with bamboo poles. Suon Chan succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital while Mr. Chhoem and Mr. Ko were still recovering Monday evening at the provincial referral hospital.
“Mr. Chan worked with our Meakea newspaper for three years,” Mr. Seng said. “He is an activist that takes pictures and video of illegal fishing in conservation areas, and illegal cutting of forests in fish breeding waters,” said Mr. Seng, who described the killing as “revenge.”
Mr. Seng said Suon Chan had three articles published last month about men he witnessed using electric rods to kill a large quantity of fish.
Sok Sovan, president of the Press Council of Cambodia, on Monday urged police to find the killers.
“I appeal to the Kompong Chhnang provincial police to arrest the hitmen and punish them,” he said. “The police know the suspects, but they are still at large.”