It’s a piece of news that could break any father’s heart. But probably more so in the case of kung fu movie idol Jackie Chan, who has been a staunch campaigner against drug abuse and trafficking.
Police arrested his son Jaycee Chan after 3.2 ounces of marijuana was found at his Beijing residence, mainland media reported on Monday.
Arrested with the 32-year-old actor was Taiwanese movie actor Ko Chen-tung, better known as Kai Ko, 23. Both Chan and Ko tested positive for having used the banned substance, the report said.
The incident was particularly embarrassing for Jackie Chan, who has been a narcotics control ambassador for the Chinese police for five years now.
He had said his most fervent wish was that all kids in the world would be free from illegal drugs.
“My dad asked me to promise him two things when I was 16: Don’t take drugs and don’t be part of the gangsters. I want to share this to all the children,” Chan once wrote in his microblog.
But his son’s arrest shows not only the prevalence of drug abuse in the entertainment world and among youngsters, but also the fact that one’s fervent wish may not always come true.
Chan had even said he would not tolerate it if his son broke the law. But would he just stand by as his son faced a jail term for an offense that he is so much against?
Chan once spoke of his desire to fight criminals and gangsters in real life. But with his son’s arrest, the irony of his situation is not lost on many.
In a rather harsh and unforgiving post on social media, one netizen writes: “There is a chance for you to do so now, Jackie Chan, please catch the bad guy in your home first.”
Other netizens point out that the government appears to be giving Jaycee Chan some preferential treatment, citing the fact that the police did not post his full name when it first announced the arrests.
On Monday afternoon, local media quoted Beijing police as saying that Ko Chen-tung was arrested for taking illegal drugs along with a male actor surnamed Fong. There was no mention of Jaycee Chan, although the surname Fong can be easily connected to the actor.
In an official microblog released in the evening, however, police identified those arrested as Taiwan actor Ko and Hong Kong actor Chan.
In its evening news broadcast, China Central Television only identified Ko and did not mention Jaycee Chan, fueling speculation that Jackie Chan could be using his police connections to protect his son.
Jackie Chan’s manager on Monday afternoon also denied that Jaycee was caught with Ko, adding that that it is impossible for the Hong Kong actor to be taking illegal drugs. This came after Sina Weibo blocked searches on Ko Chen-tung and drugs.
Jaycee Chan’s case stood starkly in contrast to other Hong Kong actors who were also arrested in the mainland on drug abuse charges.
After Roy Cheung Yiu-Yeung was arrested last month, for example, local television channels broadcast the full video clip showing him taking drugs inside a Beijing hotel.
Max Mok Siu-Chung also received full coverage when he was arrested, charged and found guilty of drug possession and use.
Zhang Mo, son of mainland movie actor Zhang Guoli, was arrested again earlier this month for taking drugs, but his face was covered and only his surname was released when news of his arrest was broadcast.
All this begs the question: Can Jackie Chan remain effective as an anti-drugs ambassador following his son’s arrest?
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