Adam Harju dies in Cambodia

SOURCE: Koohan Paik (
SUBHEAD: Adam Harjou, former managing editor of the Garden Island News, is found dead in Cambodia street.  

[IB Publisher's note: Warning. A graphic photo of Adam Harju laying dead in the street in Cambodia is at the bottom of this article. Do not scroll to the bottom of this post if you wish to avoid it. Although our home page contained a warning about the image, those linking directly to this page may not have been aware of the warning. We apologize for having published the image at the top of this article when it was first posted.]

Image above: Adam in happier days on Kauai.

By Juan Wilson on 30 April 2010 for Island Breath -

Adam Harju was found dead in the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia in front of an apartment building he lived in at Street 118. He apparently suffered a massive head trauma. There have been rumors that it was not a suicide, as was officially reported. Some have suggested that he may have not been alive when he went through a fifth floor window, and even thought his criticism of the Cambodian government could have been a factor.

 Others point to evidence it may have been a tragic accident. For more details on the subject the following are blog posts that first reported his death in: "Khmer 440: Cambodia From The Inside" (

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:15 pm Post subject: foreigner died on st136? - anyone know? I heard a rumour that last night an american man fell from a building on st136, and died at the scene. can anybody confirm?

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:32 pm Post subject: Reply with quote It was 118 and supposedly it wasn't an accident.

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:40 pm Post subject: Reply with quote From what I've heard, he's a (perhaps former) writer for the Cambodia Daily (CD).

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 8:45 pm Post subject: Reply with quote Was it suicide? Boy, the place really is turning into Pattaya. There aren't any good places to jump from on St. 118 are there? Most of the buildings in that area are no more than four stories tall. Was it a homicide?

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:44 pm Post subject: Reply with quote From what I can understand.. The headline says it was suicide. (som-lup kloo-un). But I might be wrong. My Khmer reading isn't very good. Not easy to see from the picture where on st.118 it is either. As usual it's not in the English speaking news blogs/papers. (Yet..)

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:57 pm Post subject:
Quote: (from Adam Harjou's blog:) unedited now - Journal - The going gets weird ... we are professionals The newspaper that I now work for — The Cambodia Daily — is a remarkably astounding place. ... Adam Harju html -
From a former CDer, RIP Adam.

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:03 pm Post subject: Reply with quote
Quote: (from Adam Harjou's blog:) I have been apartment hunting and getting settled in. I am happily ensconced on Street 118 two blocks from the Mekong River in a fifth floor apartment in Phnom Penh. I can see the great river from the hammock strung on my veranda.
Looks like he lived in Street 118. Sadly enough it seems it could have been a suicide. R.I.P. Mr. Harju. (His brother confirms his passing away on the blog.)

Posted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:13 pm Post subject: Reply with quote Yeah. This happened mid yesterday and we didn't put it on here because we heard conflicting stories of the guy's demise and we didn't want to rush into the story and get it wrong.
The one inescapable fact is that he went out of a window of a small three story building in the old town and hit the deck dead. Apparently his body sat there for 5 hours before it was taken away. If anybody is interested, the side angle is that some folks (maybe CSI fans) believe that he was dead before he went out of the window.

Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:29 pm Post subject: Reply with quote Reading his blog it does seem like he was a tormented soul- I guess its the countries tragic history that attracts such types. He also wrote some stuff critical of the goverment so that should stoke the conspiracy flames.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:20 am Post subject: Reply with quote Quote: There goes KiR's "losing the plot" theory. This guy had a day job that presumably required him to be up in the morning. Yet still a sad ending. I don't think he did have a day job anymore. Therefore, my thesis still stands.
Those of us with gainful employment that requires us to be in bed for before midnight and up again not long after dawn, drastically reduce our chances of going sketchy in the tropics.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:56 pm Post subject: Reply with quote my khmer girlfriend says the article states he had been drinking heavily and then jumped hence the suicide headline but perhaps he was drunk and fell, no suicide note seems to have been left.

SUBHEAD: Below is an enry to Adam's blog postings in Unedited Now  

Cambodia Redux
By Adam Harju on 6 April 2010 in Unedited Now - 

Anyone who has hung on this long to this blog is a true friend. I started it over a year ago when I left Kauai for Cambodia after a fucked up divorce. Personal issues got in the way in Cambodia and I returned to the states to get over them.

But I have exorcised that mental baggage and am again making a go of it in this steamy corner of the world. Nothing terribly exciting to report yet as I have been apartment hunting and getting settled in. I am happily ensconced on Street 118 two blocks from the Mekong River in a fifth floor apartment in Phnom Penh.

I can see the great river from the hammock strung on my veranda. Old friends are filtering back into my life and I am increasingly realizing I made a wise choice. I scared the shit out of my family though when I announced my departure, but if they would come visit me would realize their fears are silly.

I plan a writing and photo trip to Rattanakirri, the Three Corners region and Preah Vihear. I have an interpretor who will work for me for free because when I left before I sold him my $450 moto for $150 and gave him my phone and furniture. The bastard owes me and he knows it... free labor.

All I have to do is pay his bus ticket and lodging. In this corner of the world that amounts to nothing. So I promise here shortly updated photos and more interesting posts. If you have hung on this long, I think you can wait a little more.

Image above: The Body of Adam Harjou lies for five hours in front of Street 118 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. From (

Sadly, that is not true. We won't ever read those posts or see those photos. Goodnight Adam.



Anonymous said...

Juan, Thanks for reporting what the Garden Island was afraid to report.

This is a sad story, a man dying way too young, before his time .

Mauibrad said...

Yes, this is sad. He seemed like such a physically healthy man here less than 2 years ago. When one reads the rest of Adam's blog posts, you see that the Government of Cambodia is dangerously corrupt.

Ed Coll said...

Very sad. "When asked what one of his most memorable moments was as editor of The Garden Island, he said witnessing the community’s reaction as the Hawaii Superferry made its appearance in August 2007.

“I was proud to see the community stand up for itself,” Harju said. -Coco Zickos - The Garden Island
Wednesday, December 17, 2008

RIP Adam

Michael Mann said...

Would it not be a good idea to warn people that there might be a graphic picture of Adam dead on the street here? I came here looking for some more information about what happened to him, and was not expecting something like this. I can imagine friends and family of his that might find this article would be rather upset. I met Adam only once, thought he was a really nice guy, and this photo is not the last memory I wanted to have of him. I'm not saying you shouldn't have used it, but only that you should warn people that the image is there (perhaps move it to the bottom and put a disclaimer at the top).

jonathan jay said...

wow, sad indeed. i am glad michael made a good sug, and also that juan took him up on it.

i wonder when/if tgi will cover this.

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