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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Seng Moch, Journalist 1967 - 1997

Seng Moch, Journalist 1967 - 1997

S ENG MOCH, aged 30, a Cambodian journalist, died in the early hours of Sept 16, in

his home in Kien Svay, and will be sadly missed by his family, many friends and work

colleagues.

Born in Phnom Penh, Moch, third in a family of six, was a "star" within

his family because of what his father said was his "cleverness and his ability

with languages".

Moch began his journalistic career in the 1980s with the national news agency, SPK,

before taking a relatively prestigious and well-paid position with the Japanese newspaper

Asahi Shimbun from 1991-1996. He soon joined the then unofficial but exclusive "Four

Aces Club", made up of Cambodian journalists working with foreign news agencies.

He was retrenched when Asahi Shimbun downgraded their Phnom Penh office, however,

and despite his illness, which caused him severe pain and fatigue, was forced to

continue working in order to buy expensive medicines. He went on to work three months

with the Chinese news agency Xinhua but had to finish with them due to his illness.

In June 1997 he began freelancing with the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning

Post and Voice of America, covering the July coup for them. He was the first journalist

to reach Tang Krasang, General Nhek Bun Chhay's base, on July 7, after it was seized

by CPP and former KR divisions.

Freelancing to buy medicines and keep up with the news as it occurred, Moch took

on assignments with BBC-TV Bangkok and London, Channel Seven TV Australia, and Japanese

news agencies during recent months.

Up early each day with the latest scoop and always ready with a smile and a joke,

by afternoon Moch had to rest up to gain strength for another day's work.

Influenced by his years with Japanese reporters, Moch would telephone through his

latest scoop and then invariably sign off the call with a Japanese confirmation,

"Hai".

A party animal with a wide circle of friends, Moch often spent time at his tiny farm

in Kien Svay, where he made firm friends amongst the local farming neighbors by assisting

their children with money for English classes when he had the cash.

The main breadwinner for his family, Moch fought against his debilitating illness

for months finding ways to keep his mobile phone and information networks operating.

Two weeks before his death, Moch - always the news hound - was out covering the Vietnam

Airlines crash in torrential rains. He caught a fever from which he never recovered.

He will be remembered by many for his flamboyant style, sharp news eye, winning smile,

and his warm heart.

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