When a statue in a US$200,000 monument complex in the northern province of Bac Kan was found toppled, the provincial tourism chief pointed the finger at a 12-year-old boy.
On Wednesday night, a figure in the “Bac Kan Victory” sculpture – featuring two soldiers, two local adults, and one child posing in triumph – suddenly gave way, sending a 12-year-old boy to the hospital for an injured leg damaged by the debris.
Kim Dong, one of Vietnam’s most famous heroic children and a main feature of the ‘victory’ sculpture, now poses with no upper body, arms, or head.
The incident was first reported by the Bac Kan news website the same night.
Tourism department head Ha Van Truong confirmed at a press conference on Thursday that the statue was broken.
He underlined that the damaged statue is only one of ten different sculptures in the complex, located inside the province’s square.
The tourism chief also placed blame for the damage on the injured boy, claiming the child damaged the statue when he jumped up and grabbed one of the statue’s hands.
Truong said the statues in the complex may have been negatively affected after long exposure to weather so they could easily give way to a strong impact, adding that it may cost some VND7 million ($310) to repair the broken figure.
The Bac Kan monument complex was developed by the provincial tourism department and constructed by Huu Nghi Hanoi Co. It was inaugurated in 2015 with a total investment of more than VND4.5 billion ($198,238).
The complex consists of two groups of statues, each with five stone sculptures created separately and glued together to complete the statue set.
Members of the public have called Truong’s blame on a child unconvincing and many have raised doubts on the quality of the costly monument. Others have joked that the boy in question must have superpowers to be able to break through stone.