Jaychee Chan, son of martial arts film superstar Jackie, was arrested last Thursday and has been detained in Beijing on drug charges in amidst the Chinese government’s largest crackdown in years.
Police say Chan, 32, had more than 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of marijuana in his home in Beijing and they also arrested Taiwanese actor and singer Ko Chen-tung, 23, with him. Both men tested positive for marijuana and admitted to using the drug. As well as using the drug, Chan has also been accused of accommodating drug users – an even more serious offence – which could see him face three years in prison if found guilty. Ko was accused of drug use while two others detained in the same case were accused of selling marijuana.
According to his spokesperson, Jackie has reportedly flown to Beijing to see his son, though he has not yet made a formal statement regarding the matter. In 2009, China made Jackie an anti-drug ambassador and Ko was also part of an anti-drug campaign two years ago, in which he joined other prolific celebrities to proclaim in an advert “I don’t use drugs.” This revelation will no doubt hurt Ko’s current career and reputation; he has a lot of endorsement deals with major companies in China, with three of them reportedly looking to end their contracts with him and one film director has already revoked his initial idea of hiring him for a lead role in an upcoming film. Jaycee will probably also suffer the consequences; the actor and singer is the face of several lucrative adverts too, including Yuan Ye tea by Coca-Cola, Dove chocolate and Kangta sneakers.
On 19 August, Ko was shown on CCTV with his face pixelated, apologising to his family, friends and fans, saying: “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.” Angie Chai, who own Taiwan-based talent agency Star Ritz to which Ko belongs, said in a statement that she also regretted his mistake and that the agency apologised on his behalf. “We have been neglecting his life education throughout his career development,” she said, “we hope and expect him to have self-discipline, but it turned out he made a bad mistake. He has set a very bad example. We have full responsibility for Ko.” Chan has yet to respond, however Jackie’s management company, M’Stones International Corp, have said they will stand by him.
Chan and Ko’s high-profile arrests are not the first this year, after the police have also arrested a number of other celebrities in recent months for various drug offences that include using, possession and selling of marijuana, ecstasy, methamphetamine and ketamine, among others. This follows a declaration made by President Xi Jinping in June that all illegal drugs should be wiped out and offenders should be severely punished, particularly those within the “elite” population. Some of the famous names who have been arrested so far are mainland singer Li Daimo, director Zhang Yuan, actors Zhang Mo, Gao Hu and Roy Cheung, and screenwriter Ning Caishen.
Xinhua News reported that police have detained nearly 8,000 suspects on drug-related charges this year, up 72 percent from 2013. These crimes can result in hefty fines and several years or even life imprisonment, while those who are found guilty in serious cases such as smuggling are most likely to be sentenced to death.