BEIJING – Hong Kong action superstar Jackie Chan’s actor-son Jaycee Chan has been detained in Beijing on drug-related charges, the latest high-profile celebrity to be ensnared in one of China’s biggest anti-drug crackdowns in two decades.
Jaycee Chan, 32, was detained last Thursday together with the 23-year-old Taiwanese movie star Kai Ko, Beijing police said late Monday on their official microblog, identifying them only by their surnames, ages and nationalities. It was unclear why the detentions were announced several days later.
Police said both actors tested positive for marijuana and admitted using the drug, and that 100 grams of it were taken from Chan’s home.
Several celebrities have been detained on drug charges following a declaration in June by President Xi Jinping that illegal drugs should be wiped out and that offenders would be severely punished. In Beijing alone, more than 7,800 people have been caught in the crackdown, police said.
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV aired footage of a police search of the younger Chan’s home in Beijing in which he is depicted, his face pixelated, showing officers where he stashed bags of marijuana. Police said they acted on a tipoff from the public.
Chan is accused of accommodating drug users, an offence that carries a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment – a far more serious charge than that of drug consumption. Two other people detained in the same case were accused of selling drugs while Ko is accused of drug consumption.
China named the elder Chan an anti-drug ambassador in 2009. Ko, the Taiwanese star, was part of an anti-drug campaign two years ago, CCTV reported, showing footage of the campaign in which he joins other celebrities in a chorus declaring: “I don’t use drugs.”
On Tuesday, Ko was shown on CCTV, his face pixelated, tearfully apologizing to his fans and family.
“I feel very regretful, very sorry to all the people who support me… I’ve been a very bad example, I’ve made a very big mistake,” Ko said.
Ko starred in the Taiwanese hit movie “You Are the Apple of My Eye,” which earned critical acclaim and instant fame for the actor.
Illegal drug use has ballooned in China in recent decades, after being virtually eradicated following the 1949 communist revolution. Narcotics began to reappear with the loosening of social controls in the late 1980s.
In more recent years, rising wealth and greater personal freedoms have been accompanied by a growing popularity of methamphetamines and the party drugs Ecstasy and ketamine. They are often bought on social media forums and consumed in nightclubs, leading to periodic police crackdowns.
© 2014 The Canadian Press