conspiracy theories revived in haing s. ngor's murder

A couple of days ago, someone asked me incredulously, "Hey, did you know that an Asian actor won an Academy Award? Like, in the eighties." Yes! That man was Haing S. Ngor, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1985 for his role in The Killing Fields. (He was actually one of three actors of Asian descent who have won an Academy Award for acting.)

A doctor by training, Ngor survived imprisonment and torture in Cambodia under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, moved to the United States as a refugee, and was chosen as an unknown to play photographer Dith Pran in The Killing Fields.

Sadly, Ngor was found shot to death in the garage of his Los Angeles apartment building in 1996. Relatives and friends in the Cambodian community immediately speculated that the killing was revenge hit, ordered by Pol Pot or a member of the Khmer Rouge, for his outspoken opposition to the dictator.

The Los Angeles Police Department launched an international investigation, only to conclude that Ngor was killed by three members of an Asian American gang, part of a random street robbery gone wrong. Two years later, the suspects were convicted and the case appeared to be closed.

But over the last few months, Ngor's death has again captivated the Cambodian community, sparked by the U.N. tribunal testimony of a former Khmer Rouge prison chief Kang Kek Ieu, who claims that "Ngor was killed because he appeared in the film The Killing Fields."

Needless to say, the claim stoked new theories about Ngor's murder: Revisiting Haing Ngor's murder: 'Killing Fields' theory won't die. Fourteen years later, many remain convinced of a conspiracy -- a political hit -- despite the insistence of authorities that it was a random street crime with no ties to Cambodia. More here: THE KILLING FIELDS - ACTOR'S FAMILY CALL FOR DEATH INVESTIGATION TO BE REOPENED.

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