Victory Monument Made of Low-Content Copper Alloy

An answer has been found for the rapid deterioration of the Dien Bien Phu Victory Monument in the north-western province of Dien Bien, which was cast with an average copper content only reaching 86.93% as recently reported by the Institute of Criminal Science under the Ministry of Public Security.

Dien Bien Phu Victory Monument under construction

At the beginning of the project, a package contract of VND40 billion (approx US$2.5m) to build the monument was assigned by the Dien Bien Province People’s Committee to the Central Art Co.

According to the contract signed by the two parties, the 12.6 meter tall statue would be cast with a 3-centimeter thick outer layer of bronze. The composition of the alloy consisted of 218.7 kilos of pure copper.

After that, due to its inability to complete the task, the Central Art Co. signed another contract worth VND 18.5 billion (approx US$1.15m) with the Doan Ket Co., Ltd., to entrust the task of building the statue.

Records kept by the Doan Ket Co., Ltd., disclosed that the amount of pure copper used for casting was 161.9 kilos, almost equivalent to the figure of 160.3 kilos stated in the examination report made by the Institute of Criminal Science, resulting a difference of 68,000 kilos between the actual weight of pure copper used for the casting and that of the signed contract. The Doan Ket Co., Ltd. made up for the deficiency by adding 134.4 kilos of scrap copper to the alloy.

Also according to a preliminary investigation carried out by the Investigative Police Bureau, up to now, the Central Art Co. has received a payment of VND 23.1 billion (approx 1.4 m) from the project, of which VND 9.8 billion (approx US$612,500) was paid to the Doan Ket Co., Ltd. and VND 3.2 billion (approx US$ 200,000) to the sculptor. As to the balance of the VND 8.6 billion (approx US$537,500), the company cannot explain where it has gone.

On the evidence obtained, the investigative bureau has taken legal action against seven officials and businesspeople for intentionally violating the law, appropriating public property and abusing their positions and power while on active service. Among them, Luong Phuong Cac, former department manager of the Project, Le Minh Vien, deputy manager of the Project, Tran Quoc Hung, accountant, Vo Thi Hong, former director of the Central Art Co. and Nguyen Trong Hanh, deputy director of the Doan Ket Co., Ltd. were issued arrest warrants and put in temporary detention. 

By Nam Quoc- Translated by Phuong Lan

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