April 24, 1996 in Nation/World

Ngor Refused To Give Killers A Picture Of Wife

New York Daily News

Academy Award-winning actor Haing Ngor, a survivor of Cambodia’s bloody killing fields, was slain by an Asian street gang member seeking loot to buy rock cocaine, sources told the New York Daily News.

In a tragic twist to a botched robbery, in which the killer overlooked Ngor’s cash-stuffed wallet, cops believe the actor may have nobly resisted giving up a cherished gold chain and locket bearing a picture of his late wife, who was killed by Khmer Rouge soldiers around 1975.

Ngor’s act of love, investigators believe, may have provoked the fatal gunshot by a member of the crack-smoking, gun-toting Oriental Lazyboys street gang.

Ngor, 55, was shot twice at about 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 25 as he stood near his BMW in the driveway of his home.

The Los Angeles County district attorney is considering filing murder charges against one or more gang members as detectives continue gathering evidence against the crew.

Shortly before the slaying, the alleged killer reportedly said, “Let’s do a jack (holdup or carjacking),” so the gang could purchase some rock cocaine, a witness told investigators.

One bullet struck Ngor’s leg - a wound investigators believe was the first warning shot fired when he resisted giving up the locket. A second bullet pierced his chest, killing him.

Immediately after the slaying, there was widespread speculation that Ngor, who came to the United States in 1980, had been assassinated by Khmer Rouge agents as revenge for his political activism against the group.

Police initially discounted robbery as a motive in the slaying because they found Ngor’s wallet containing nearly $3,000 tucked in his jacket.

But when investigators later interviewed the relatives Ngor had visited in Long Beach, Calif., a half-hour before the slaying, they learned he’d been wearing a $6,000 Rolex watch and the beloved chain and locket, which were missing.

In 1984, Ngor won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in “The Killing Fields.”

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