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Tue, Apr 28, 2009
The New Paper
HK singer returns after 2-month detention

[Left: Before detention; Right: After detention - Unglamourous Jill Vidal after her release.]

IT was a chaotic homecoming for Hong Kong Cantopop star Jill Vidal yesterday.

Around 100 reporters and photographers were at Hong Kong International Airport to see Vidal, 26, also known as Wei Si, arrive home after two months in custody.

At a court hearing in Tokyo on Friday, Vidal was given a two-year jail term, suspended for three years, after pleading guilty to possession of heroin, which she said she had brought from Hong Kong.

She was arrested on suspicion of possessing cannabis with fellow Hong Kong pop star Kelvin Kwan, who was later released without being charged, Police later found packets of heroin in her hotel room.

Vidal had been in detention since 24 Feb, the South China Morning Post reported.

She and Kwan were arrested in the Dogenzaka shopping area of Tokyo, at 1am on 24 Feb.

The court heard that the police found 11 packets of powder, each weighing 1.836g, inside the cover of Jill's suitcase. The powder was found to contain heroin.

Hong Kong Performing Artistes Guild chairman Alan Tam Wing-lun said the 60-day detention was a long enough punishment for her and he hoped she would not make the same mistake again.

A police source said that she would face a similar investigation like Kwan when he returned to Hong Kong on 28 Mar.

'I just want to apologise to the people who really care about me. I'm really sorry for people in Hong Kong, Japan, my family and my company,' a sobbing Vidal was quoted as saying.

Pleading guilty, she said that on 13 Feb, before going to Tokyo, she had bought 16 packets of the drug in Hong Kong, paying for it through an ATM machine.

A Hong Kong police spokesman said last night that officers would contact the Japanese authorities about the case.

Hong Kong barrister Shahmim K. Khattak, who is familiar with Japanese law, said the penalty was relatively light, but the detention before the trial had been too long. Normally a suspect held in Japan would only be detained for up to 23 days.

Heroin

Vidal told the court she began using heroin in April last year on a friend's recommendation.

She said she had been buying it two or three times a week, paying through an ATM and having it delivered by a dealer.

Her defence lawyer said she had been under tremendous stress from her career and took the drugs for temporary relief.

He also said that the the long detention had already served as a punishment for her, who had been socially damaged to the extent that it would be difficult for her to make a comeback as an entertainer.

She had also suffered by being left alone after the departure of Kwan.

In his closing argument, prosecutor Tomotaka Fujio demanded a two-year jail term, pointing out that Jill was clearly addicted to heroin.

Mr Fujio added that Vidal's deep addiction showed that there was a high possibility that she would relapse.

But Vidal insisted that she had managed to quit the drug.

Police found a rolled-up cigarette containing cannabis on Kwan but he was not charged.

 

This article was first published in The New Paper.

 
 
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