Cambodia bans latest ‘Kingsman’ film for portraying country as a criminal hub

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 October, 2017, 2:42pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 October, 2017, 9:21pm

Hollywood’s lighthearted spy blockbuster Kingsman: The Golden Circle has been banned in Cambodia because of a scene that portrays the country and one of its famous temples as a hotbed of crime, an official said on Friday.

The action-comedy sequel follows a fictional British spy organisation that joins forces with an American counterpart to search for a drug lord’s hideout, which turns out to be a jungle-ringed temple in Cambodia.

Bok Borak, director of the Culture Ministry’s film department, said the “unacceptable” film was banned from cinemas for “using the name Cambodia as a hideout for criminals”.

“And what is more worrying is that it uses one of our temples as a place to produce drugs, to kill people cruelly … So we don’t allow the screening of this film in our country,” he added.

He said the film was not made in Cambodia but the drug lord’s temple resembled the well-known Ta Prohm – a site in the famed Angkor complex that is tangled in tree roots and was used as a set for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

“Our temple is a world heritage site that we must protect and it is not a place for such things,” Bok Borak said, adding that a letter will be sent to the film’s producers “to show our frustration”.

Westec Media, which bought the local distribution rights for the film, could not reached for comment.

Cambodia is a popular smuggling route and destination for narcotics, particularly methamphetamine and heroin, and corrupt officials have made it an easy hideout for foreign criminals and fugitives.

The Southeast Asian nation has intensified its war on drugs in recent years and there have been thousands of arrests, including some senior officials.

It is not the first time Cambodia has outlawed entertainment it considers harmful to the country’s traditional values.

In the past two months the government has banned two Hollywood films – including horror flick Jigsaw – for excessive violence deemed inappropriate for local audiences.