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September 21, 2017

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Prosecutors begin probe of Kai Ko's drug case

TAIPEI -- A chief prosecutor at the Taipei District Prosecutors Office said Wednesday that his office has begun an investigation into the alleged marijuana use by Taiwanese actor Kai Ko (Ko Chen-tung, 柯震東) in China.

Ko's case was forwarded by Taipei police to the Taipei District Prosecutors' Office for investigation and a prosecutor from the drug enforcement unit has been assigned to handle the case, said office spokesman Huang Mou-hsin (黃謀信).

The office will request assistance from Chinese authorities and ask that they preserve the evidence, he said, adding that Taiwanese prosecutors will determine the direction of the investigation after reviewing the evidence submitted by Chinese authorities.

Prosecutors will expand their investigation if the evidence indicates that more Taiwanese are involved in drug use, Huang said.

Taiwanese authorities can pursue Taiwanese nationals who committed crimes in China based on Article 75 of the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.

It says that criminal offenses committed in China may still be punishable in accordance with the laws of Taiwan, though their punishment is to be waived in whole or in part.

In Taiwan, marijuana is classified as a Category 2 narcotic under the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act and its use is considered a criminal offense.

Local media has speculated that after returning to Taiwan, Ko may be required to perform community service or end up on probation.

According to Chinese media, Ko was put under "administrative detention" on suspicion of violating China's "social security management and punishment law."

Under Chinese law, those arrested on suspicion of violating the law can be detained for up to 15 days.

Ma Shaw-chang (馬紹章), vice chairman and spokesman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (海基會), said Wednesday that his foundation has asked its Chinese counterpart — the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits — to notify Chinese authorities to protect the rights and interests of the parties involved.

According to Chinese media reports, Beijing police arrested Ko on Aug. 14 at the residence of Jaycee Chan (房祖名), the actor-son of Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan (成龍), and seized more than 100 grams of marijuana at the scene.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV on Tuesday aired video footage of Ko tearing up in front of a camera in a detention center in which he said he was "very regretful, very sorry to all the people who support, like and know me."

The 23-year-old, who won the Golden Horse for Best New Performer in 2011 for his role in the blockbuster "You Are the Apple of My Eye," (那一年我們一起追的女孩) said he had learned his lesson and will "try to make myself a better person."

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