The crime scene where journalist Koy Piseth died in Phnom Penh on Sept. 29. (Photo: CNE)
A prominent Cambodian television journalist was reportedly killed in Phnom Penh in the early hours of Sept. 29 when he was attacked from behind while on his motorbike.
News portal Cambodia News English (CNE) said the body of Koy Piseth, 24, was found after 2am on a street near his bike.
“The dead man was a CBN TV reporter who died on the street after being allegedly beaten in the back, causing him to fall head [sic] and die,” it reported.
A photograph of Koy Piseth’s press pass was published alongside photographs of his body under a white sheet near the crashed motorbike.
The report quoted a source from the Por Sen Chey District Military Police who said that he had contacted the owner of the house who had a security camera near the scene.
He said he saw that the victim was beaten by an unknown attacker from behind, causing him to fall and die instantly. The assailant then escaped.
“Residents living near the scene also said that when they heard the sound of a motorcycle crashing, they did not immediately come out to check the incident. A little later, a witness saw a man lying dead on the motorcycle in the middle of the road. No one else was with the body,” the report said.
CNE said his body was found in Prey Tea village, Sangkat Choam Chao 3, Khan Por Sen Chey, Phnom Penh. Further details were unavailable.
Koy Piseth's death comes amid worrying times for journalists in Cambodia. The government initiated a crackdown on press freedom and political dissent ahead of the 2018 election.
That resulted in the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) winning all 125 seats in parliament as opposition politicians and their supporters have been detained, some handed own lengthy prison sentences and many others have fled the country.
In 2014, Hang Serei Oudom, a reporter with the Cambodian-language newspaper Vorakchun Khmer Daily, was killed after writing about forest crimes involving local powerful businessmen.
Another journalist, Taing Try, was killed two years later while investigating illegal logging in Kratie at the time of his death.
At least least 14 journalists have been killed in Cambodia since 1990.