Khmer Rouge Murdered Star of Killing Fields

UN tribunal testimony implicates Pol Pot in '96 hit on Oscar-winner
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2010 5:00 AM CST
Dr. Haing Ngor, the Cambodian star of The Killing Fields, at a BAFTA ceremony in London, holding his awards for Best Actor and Best Outstanding Newcomer. He was shot at his Los Angeles home in 1996.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The LAPD and FBI call the 1996 murder of actor Haing Ngor a closed case of gang violence, but many Cambodians and Cambodian-Americans remain convinced that Pol Pot ordered a hit on the Oscar winner—and recent testimony at a UN tribunal on the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime has boosted their case. "Haing Ngor was killed because he appeared in the film The Killing Fields," a former Khmer Rouge prison chief told the court.

Ngor, a vocal critic of the Khmer Rouge, was gunned down outside his Los Angeles apartment in 1996 in what looked to US authorities like a political hit, the LA Times reports. But after an investigation failed to find any link to the Cambodian regime, three local gang members were convicted of the crime. Conspiracy theories have since surrounded Ngor's murder, which has taken on a sort of JFK-assassination-like status in the Cambodian-American community.

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