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NEW YORK (AP) _ ``Killing Fields″ actor Dr. Haing S. Ngor may have been shot to death over a gold chain and locket rather than his political activism, the Daily News reported Tuesday.
Police originally discounted robbery as a motive in Ngor’s Feb. 25 slaying in Los Angeles because his wallet, stuffed with $3,000 in cash, was untouched.
But sources told the Daily News that a member of a gang called the Oriental Lazyboys apparently overlooked the cash and shot Ngor when he refused to turn over the chain and locket.
Ngor cherished the locket because it contained a picture of his wife, who died in the slaughter carried out in the 1970s by Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge.
A Los Angeles police spokesman, Officer Eduardo Fuenes, would not confirm or deny the report, saying only that the investigation into Ngor’s slaying continued.
Meanwhile, homicide detectives met with Los Angeles County prosecutors on Tuesday, but no charges were filed.
``We had some preliminary discussions with police and that’s it,″ said District Attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons. ``The investigation is continuing. We are not going to comment on an ongoing investigation.″
Ngor, 55, won the 1984 Oscar for best supporting actor for his portrayal of photographer Dith Pran in ``The Killing Fields,″ about the slaughter in Ngor’s homeland.
Ngor had spent time in Cambodia after winning his Oscar, delivering humanitarian aid and building health clinics. In Los Angeles, Cambodian community leaders had speculated that Ngor was assassinated for political reasons or because of a soured business deal.
Police returned to the robbery theory after interviewing relatives Ngor had visited a half-hour before he died. They said he had been wearing a $6,000 Rolex watch and the chain and locket, which were missing, sources told the newspaper.
Witnesses led police to the Lazyboys, the newspaper said. Gang members identified the killer and said he shot Ngor while looking to score money to buy cocaine, the sources said.
Thommy Nou, a Cambodian community leader, said he doubts Ngor would have been ``so stupid to refuse anything to robbers.″
``Dr. Ngor and myself used to say, `Hey, we saved our lives from the killing fields. Why would we want to die over $100 or $50?‴ Nou said.