BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) _ A veteran reporter who was found slain this weekend once turned down $6,000 bribe to stop working on a corruption story, his editor said Monday.

The killing of 40-year-old Sayomchai Vijitwittayapong, who worked in the northern province of Phichit, was ``a loss for journalism,'' said Suwapong Junfsungpet, editor of the daily newspaper Matichon.

Sayomchai was slain for his straightforward reporting, the newspaper said Monday in a statement, calling on the government to take responsibility for arresting the murderer as well as the person who ordered the killing.

It also demanded measures to better ensure the security of journalists.

Sayomchai was found shot to death in his car Saturday in Phichit, the provincial capital. His wife last saw him when he left Friday night to meet a mystery caller.

After Sayomchai rejected the bribe to stop reporting on corruption in a construction project, his car was forced off the road and his life was threatened, Suwapong said.

Sayomchai was named the newspaper's outstanding local journalist in 1996.