In The Man with the golden gun, Bond is trying to locate Francisco Scaramanga, the hit man who killed the solar energy expert, Gibson, in Hong Kong. Bond assumes that who ever hired him could afford a million dollars and his interest is drawn to Hai Fat, the multimillionaire that Gibson worked for. He learns that Hai Fat lives outside of Bangkok on a mountainside surrounded by guards. Bond accompanies Lieutenant Hip to “Bangkok” where Hai Fat lives. They are scoping out his residence and Bond jumps the wall. Posing as Scaramanga himself he reveals his fake third nipple, supplied by Q, for Hai Fat who seems convinced that Bond is Scaramanga and invites him to dinner.
|The Dragon Garden in 2012|
Even though the action is supposed to take place in Bangkok, the Hai Fat estate is located in the New Territories in Hong Kong, where the film team was based in April 1974. The estate is called The Dragon Garden and was built in the 1950’s. It was designed by an industrialist and philantropist called Lee Iu Cheung and it once housed the largest private outdoor swimmingpool in Hong Kong (the pool where Chew Me is swimming). Notice part of the red Chinese gate behind the main building in the left picture. The gate is found just in front of the mausoleum where Hai Fat is talking to Scaramanga.
|The lack of letterbox in the door indicates that it’s not the main entrance|
When Bond returns the same evening, dressed in black tie, we get to see the entrance. The red doors with the yellow balls are still the same and even the letterbox is visible earlier in the film when Bond is escorted out. The word ´Letters´ is briefly visible in the film. Sadly the original metal plate, seen in the left picture, has been replaced with a new one at the main door, carrying Chinese characters. Behind the main door is the path that Bond is walking down in the film, leading up to “Grizzlyland”.
The name is Scaramanga, Mr Fat is expecting me.
|Hip drops off Bond outside of Hai Fat.|
In the film there are two doors next to each other. However, there is only one door at the main entrance today and it is not very likely that a second door was put up just for the film, so the surrounding wall has probably been changed since 1974. There are still two separate entrances, but they are much wider apart than in the film. It is possible, but very unlikely, that they recreated the doors in Pinewood but most likely has the high wall been changed.
Along the front side of the Dragon Garden runs the same wall that Bond and Hip are looking over in the first scene. They are probably standing at the very left part of the surrounding wall.
|The exterior of Dragon Garden in 2012. The main entrance to the right.|
The Dragon Garden is currently undergoing renovation and it is not easy to get in touch with anyone in charge. It appears to be a slow process, probably due to the lack of funds, but things are going in the right direction. So far, the front doors have been given new paint. The estate is still privately owned by the Cheung family and it is not accessible for the public. We have had the fortune of a quick tour of some parts of the garden but that will be covered later. The estate is guarded by dogs and a security guard, although not as heavily armed as the Hai Fat guards.
“-Don’t tell me you saw him?!
-He even invited me to dinner. He must have found me quite titillating!”
-Lt. Hip to Bond-
The Dragon Garden is located along Castle Peak Road in the New Territories. It’s quite easy to find if you are driving along the Castle Peak Road but it is unlikely that the cab driver will know what you are talking about when you mention the Dragon Garden, so good luck getting there. The road running alongside the estate has been expanded quite a bit and probably rerouted since the 1970’s and it is hard to know the exact spot where Hip parked his car.
|Notice the still unpainted front door in early 2012.|
More information about the garden can be found on the website of the Dragon Garden trust. http://dragongarden.hk