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Bruce Lee museum proposal shelved in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AP) — Efforts to build a Bruce Lee museum in the late kung fu movie star’s hometown of Hong Kong have been stalled again.

Fans have been calling for an official tribute to the screen icon for years. Their hopes appeared to be answered two years ago when the Hong Kong government and the owner of Lee’s former home reached an agreement to convert the property — a two-story house currently used as an hourly love motel — into a museum.

But the Hong Kong government said Sunday that negotiations with the owner, businessman Yu Pang-lin, have broken down.

“Despite our efforts, we are unable to reach a consensus with the property owner over the scope of the restoration,” the government said in a statement.

The statement did not elaborate.

An operator who answered the phone at Yu’s offices in the southern Chinese city Shenzhen on Sunday said that his staff wasn’t in.

Wong Yiu-keung, president of the Hong Kong Bruce Lee Club, said Yu made unreasonable demands, such as wanting to set up his own offices in the museum.

“Mr. Yu made such a high-profile gesture by donating the property, and yet we now realize those are not his intentions. We are very disappointed. I don’t understand why he backtracked,” Wong told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, who was also involved in the project, didn’t immediately respond to an email sent to a publicist for the Bruce Lee Foundation seeking comment. Shannon Lee had also been raising funds for a museum in Seattle, where her father studied and taught martial arts.

The Hong Kong government said the Lee artifacts it had collected for the planned museum will be used for an exhibit at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum that is expected to launch in late 2012.

Lee became a source of Chinese pride by portraying characters who defended the Chinese and the working class from oppressors in films like “Return of the Dragon.” He died in Hong Kong in 1973 at age 32 from swelling of the brain.

The late actor has been honored with a statue on Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars, a waterfront promenade featuring the hand prints of the southern Chinese territory’s noted actors.

News of the shelved museum plans was first reported by the South China Morning Post on Sunday.

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