Death of 'Killing Fields' star a mystery
Wednesday 28 February 1996
The death of the Oscar-winning actor Haing Ngor, who won glory for his role as a victim of Khmer Rouge brutality in the film The Killing Fields, remained a mystery yesterday. Members of his family suggested he was the victim of political revenge. But Los Angeles detectives could provide neither a motive nor a suspect for the killing.
The 55-year-old Cambodian was shot in the chest on Sunday night when he got out of his car in front of his apartment. Yesterday the spot was marked by flowers, incense sticks and bundles of paper money.
Though he shot to stardom for his film portrayal of the `photographer Dith Pran, Mr Ngor continued to live and work in an area of Los Angeles' Chinatown with a growing reputation for violent crime, mainly with groups funnelling aid to refugees.
Police arrived at the scene after an anonymous phone call to find Mr Ngor lying in a pool of blood. Neighbours, who said they heard three shots, suspected he was the victim of a robbery.
Long Beach, California, is the centre of the largest community of Cambodians outside Phnom Penh. They are one of the poorest immigrant groups. Mr Ngor, a doctor, was active in Long Beach but travelled frequently to Cambodia after the defeat of the Khmer Rouge.
He was working as a counsellor in Chinatown when he was given a leading role in The Killing Fields, based on the memoirs of New York Times journalist Sidney Schanberg. Mr Ngor's tale of persecution and escape from the Khmer Rouge echoed the true story of the character he played, and his powerful acting won him an Oscar for best supporting actor in 1984, the first such award to a non-professional in 30 years.
The film showed the horror of the Cambodian purges, where "intellectuals" such as Mr Ngor were routinely tortured and executed. Mr Ngor himself posed as an ignorant taxi driver to survive, but was sent to prison whencaught scavenging for wild roots.
Relatives speculated the publicity may have cost him his life. A nephew, Pic Dom, described the shooting as an assassination. "Political motive," he said. "I think they can organise and they don't give up."
Obituary, page 14
- 1 Three of Pope Francis' relatives die in Argentina car crash, including two young great-nephews
- 2 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 3 Here’s the damning letter Robin Williams wrote to his Mrs Doubtfire co-star's principal after they expelled her
- 4 Ferguson protests: 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein ‘arrested’ by police during St Louis demonstrations
- 5 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
Syria conflict: President Assad finally turns on Isis as government steps up campaign against militant strongholds
Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
Ice Bucket Challenge: Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Oprah – the most entertaining reactions so far
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
World peace? These are the only 11 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
£30000 - £34000 per annum: Charter Selection: This highly successful organisat...
£60000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Develo...
£230 - £260 per day + competitive: Orgtel: MI Analyst-Reporting-Bank-Edinburgh...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + bonus+benefits+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...