Asia Minute: Hanoi Declines King Kong Statue

Mar 16, 2017

The Turtle Tower in Hoan Kiem Lake
Credit Wikimedia Commons

King Kong will not be heading to Vietnam. Government officials are abandoning plans to build a life-size statue of the movie star by a popular lake in the nation’s capital. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


This is a case of a city government saying “no thank you” to an idea from the federal government.  All in a communist country with capitalist ambitions.

Vietnam’s culture ministry wanted to build a statue of King Kong on Hoan Kiem Lake—an iconic spot in the center of Hanoi that’s popular with tourists.

The lake is also a central character in a legend stretching back to the 15th century involving a virtuous warrior, a magic sword, a tortoise and a Dragon King.

King Kong’s links to Vietnam are a lot more recent and somewhat more tenuous.  Most of the latest King Kong movie—Skull Island—was filmed in Vietnam.

The culture ministry thought a life-size statue of King Kong would add to the tourist appeal of the lake in Hanoi. But city officials said it would interfere with what they consider a national heritage site.

Elsewhere in Vietnam, another statue of King Kong didn’t do so well last week.

Variety was among the publications reporting a large model of the giant ape caught fire at Skull Island’s premiere in Ho Chi Minh City…although no one was injured.

The movie has already broken box office records in Vietnam.

Government officials are hoping to use the film to attract visitors—they’ve even made Skull Island’s director a foreign ambassador for tourism.