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Young Journalist Found Murdered

Pov Sam Ath, 29, a journalist who colleagues say was sympathetic toward the Khmer Kampuch Krom ethnic group, was found murdered Wednesday.

Police said they found Pov Sam Ath's body hidden in the bushes of a field in Treng Trayung commune, Kampong Speu province. He had been beaten with a baton, asphyxiated and put in a trunk, police said.

Pov Sam Ath was the editor of Samleng Khmer Krom, or Voice of Khmer Krom, a newspaper sympathetic to the cause of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom ethnic group, many of whom live in Vietnam but have cultural ties to Cambodia.

The rights of the ethnic group have become increasingly politicized in recent months, with activists and journalists in Cambodian accusing the Vietnamese of rights abuses against its members.

A family representative said Pov Sam Ath had been missing since April 22 and that the murder may have been the result of a personal grudge, not because of the Khmer Kampuchea Krom.

Om Chandara, director of the Friends of Khmer Journalists Association, said the group regretted the murder and called for a thorough investigation.

Kampong Speu Provincial Police Chief Keo Pisei declined comment Thursday.