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Three Charged In Death Of ‘Killing Fields’ Actor

Three men were charged Friday with the murder and robbery of Dr. Haing S. Ngor, the Cambodian actor who won an Oscar for his role in “The Killing Fields.”

Tak Sun Tan, 19, was arrested Friday, district attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said. The others, Jason Chan, 18, and Indra Lim, 19, were arrested earlier on unrelated robbery charges.

Ngor was shot to death on Feb. 25 in his carport in the Chinatown section of Los Angeles.

Gibbons would not comment on a motive, nor would she say what items were taken from Ngor.

A source familiar with the case, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that the defendants are members of the Oriental Lazyboys, a Chinatown-based gang that specializes in home-invasion robberies and carjackings.

Gibbons said the men could get the death penalty if convicted because the murder was committed during a robbery.

Ngor, 55, won the 1984 Oscar for best supporting actor for his portrayal of Dith Pran. Dith, an assistant to former New York Times reporter Sydney Shanberg, was trapped in Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge seized power in 1975. Dith is now a Times photographer.

A gynecologist and obstetrician, Ngor escaped in 1980, after enduring torture, maiming and starvation. He settled in Los Angeles, working for a Chinatown refugee center.

Ngor had spent time in Cambodia after winning his Oscar, delivering aid and building health clinics. Cambodian community leaders in Los Angeles had speculated that Ngor was assassinated for political reasons or because of a soured business deal.

“I’m so glad this is over,” said Sovann Tith, executive director of United Cambodian Community Inc. in Long Beach, which is home to the largest population of Cambodians outside Cambodia. “It is a surprise to me to think it was robbery.”