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Slain Journalist Quietly Reported on Illegal Timber

A truck carries logs on a rural road is seen in this July, 2002 photo taken in Preah Vihear province some 245 kilometers (152 miles) north of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Little was known about the journalist Traing Try before his murder over the weekend.

He spent much of his time on the road, sending his wife money, up to $50 per month, from his work. He wrote stories for several small papers, mostly about illegal logging and the illicit transport of timber from Cambodia to Vietnam.

Saturday, the day before he was killed, he had a verbal altercation with the men later arrested and charged in his murder, who he suspected were illegal loggers, according to Sok Sovan, one of his editors.

Those men, La Narong, Kem Pheakdey and Pin Heng, are being held by Kratie province authorities and facing murder charges.

Traing Try had also been threatened “many times,” Sok Sovan said. “He was not afraid.”

Traing Try was former military police, but he quit to become a journalist, joining the Khmer Journalists for Democracy Association in 2000 and writing for a paper called Veal Entry, or Eagle Field.

Traing Try, who was 47, leaves behind wife Mom Sophy, aged 52, and two daughters, Lyda and Tetra, aged 22 and 20.

Mom Sophy said in an interview that her husband was rarely home, and what money he was able to send was not very much. Both her daughters still live with Mom Sophy, who is a cleaner and laundry woman at a market in Kampong Cham province.

With her husband dead, she said she fears more hardship. “I don’t know on whom I can rely,” she said.