BEIJING, China – A Taiwanese actor arrested on drug charges along with the son of Hong Kong film star Jackie Chan was released Friday after two weeks in detention, amid a broad anti-drug crackdown in China’s capital that has ensnared several celebrities.
Kai Ko emerged from a Beijing detention centre before dawn and into a scrum of reporters from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Followed to his hotel by the press pack, a visibly agitated Ko challenged one reporter to a fight before retreating inside an elevator.
Kai was considerably more composed at an afternoon news conference in which he appeared with his parents and agent and apologized for smoking marijuana.
“I was wrong on this issue. I made a mistake. There is no excuse for it. I was wrong,” Kai said.
“I never realized that Kai Ko is more than just a name for myself. It also means a lot to those who support and love me. It was out of my expectations that anything concerning ‘Kai Ko’ could have such a big impact on others,” he said, before bowing with his parents and agent in a sign of contrition.
The 23-year-old was arrested on Aug. 14 along with Jaycee Chan, son of the Hong Kong martial arts superstar. The arrests drew enormous media attention in the Chinese-speaking world and Kai’s news conference came amid speculation about how his career as an entertainer and brand spokesman might be affected.
Police said both actors tested positive for marijuana and admitted using the drug, and that 100 grams (3.53 ounces) of it were taken from Chan’s home.
While Ko was given a sentence of 14 days in administrative detention — standard for those caught doing drugs — 31-year-old Jaycee Chan remains in detention and faces a potentially much heftier penalty for having shared drugs with others.
Chan, whose mother is former Taiwanese actress Lin Feng-jiao, was raised in Los Angeles and has appeared in about 20 films, most of them low-budget Hong Kong and mainland Chinese productions.
Jackie Chan has publicly apologized for his son’s drug use and pledged to work with him on his recovery.
Ko, whose real name is Ko Chen-tung, rode to fame after his 2011 coming-of-age film “You Are the Apple of My Eye.” The role won him a Best New Performer award at the Golden Horse film awards in Taiwan, considered the most prestigious in Chinese-language cinema.
Ko also played the boyfriend of one of the protagonists in China-produced “Tiny Times 3.0,” a huge hit with young female audiences that knocked “Transformers 4” from the No. 1 spot in the mainland’s box office last month.
The arrests of Ko and Chan came amid a major offensive against drug-related crime in Beijing that has seen a 53.2 per cent rise in investigations in the city to more than 1,800 since January, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
More than 8,400 suspects have been detained during that time, an increase of 78.7-per cent over the same period last year, Xinhua said.