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June 24, 2017

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Actor issues apology after arrest in Beijing

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Following Taiwanese actor Ko Chen-tung's (柯震東) arrest in Beijing for using marijuana, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV yesterday aired video footage showing the actor's tearful apology to the public for "setting a negative example."

Hong Kong singer and actor Jaycee Chan (房祖名), son of the internationally renowned kung fu star Jackie Chan (成龍), and two other suspects were arrested along with Ko on Aug. 14 at Chan's residence, according to reports. More than 100 grams of marijuana were seized by police at the scene and the suspects were later taken into custody, CCTV said.

The news of the arrests broke yesterday after the pair had been silent on social media for six days and the rumors of the two being taken into custody went viral on the Internet.

Many have speculated that the reason the incident only went public six days after it occurred was because Jackie Chan has been using his personal connections in Beijing in an attempt to halt the media frenzy for his son's sake.

CCTV also aired more video footage in which Jaycee Chan confirmed to the police that the item seized was marijuana and he had possessed it for years.

According to reports, as the amount of the seized marijuana is deemed to be more than what is plausible for personal use, Chan, who allegedly is the owner of the drugs, may face severe legal consequences, ranging from three to five years of imprisonment or even the death penalty.

Ko's video shows him tearing up in front of a camera in a detention center in China, in which the actor said he was very regretful and sorry to all the people who support and like him.

"I am sorry that I've let them down and have become a bad influence. I've made a poor example for young people. I've made a huge mistake," Ko said in the video.

No Help is Needed: SEF

Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Vice Chairman Ma Shaw-chang (馬紹章) yesterday commented on Ko's case, saying that according to China's regulations, Ko may have faced 10 to 15 days of detention and a fine of 2,000 yuan over the incident.

Ma said among the incidents of Taiwanese nationals sentenced in mainland China for possessing or selling drugs, there have been 11 cases that have sought assistance from the SEF, hoping to reduce their penalties.

Ma said given that Ko will be released by the Chinese authorities after a 14-day administrative detention, the SEF does not need to specifically offer aid to the 23-year-old actor.

The Taipei City Police Department yesterday afternoon requested permission from the Taipei District Prosecutors (TDPO) to investigate Ko's case. The TDPO said it will handle the case in accordance with the cross-strait mutual legal assistance treaty.

The TDPO further said that as marijuana is considered a Class 2 narcotic in Taiwan, Ko will have to undergo compulsory rehabilitation after he returns to the country.

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