Oscar winner HAING NGOR's family and friends are urging Los Angeles police to re-open their investigation into the death of The Killing Fields star - because they believe his slaying was related to his role in the film.
The Cambodian was shot and killed in 1996 in Los Angeles and his death was ruled a gang-related murder.
Police officials closed the investigation after arresting three members of an Asian-American gang and charging them with the murder.
But, 14 years after the tragedy, Ngor's family want the case re-opened because they believe a leading member of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge had ordered a hit on the actor, who was an outspoken critic of dictator Pol Pot.
The Los Angeles Police Department launched an international investigation regarding the theory, but ruled Ngor was killed during a random street robbery.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the testimony of a former Khmer Rouge prison chief last year (09) sparked requests for a reinvestigation into the murder.
Kang Kek Ieu told a United Nations tribunal in Phnom Penh that Pol Pot and his supporters were behind the incident, explaining, "Haing Ngor was killed because he appeared in the film The Killing Fields."
The slain actor's cousin, Thommy Nou, tells the Times, "I believe this 100 per cent. This was a homicide set up by the communists or possibly the Khmer Rouge. That’s what I had thought all along."
But police officials who worked the case insist they found no links to tie the murder to the Khmer Rouge and maintain Ngor was killed by teenage members of the Oriental Lazy Boyz.
During the 1998 trial, prosecutor Craig Hum argued the trio robbed Ngor for money to buy cocaine and shot him after he refused to part with a locket because it held the photo of his dead wife.
Speaking to the Times, Hum admits he's skeptical about the international hit theory: "I’m sure that people in the regime weren’t sorry to see him go, but I’m not sure if that equates to having a prominent critic murdered in the U.S."
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