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Friday, Aug 29, 2014

Showbiz

Taiwanese actor sobs over drugs charges in China - again

AFP | Friday, Aug 29, 2014

Taiwanese actor Kai Ko (left) and Jackie Chan's son, Jaycee Chan (right), were arrested on Aug 14 after police found 115 grams of marijuana at Chan's home in Beijing.

BEIJING - A Taiwanese actor detained with the son of Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan for drugs offences in Beijing was released Friday and held a press conference to apologise tearfully for his crimes.

Kai Ko, 23, was held in a police swoop two weeks ago as Beijing cracks down on drugs in a wider war on excess - and had already been paraded weeping on national television following his arrest.

"In the future every day (I) will slowly mature and this will be an ugly scar I will bear," he said at Friday's press conference, tears glistening on his face as his lips trembled.

"Sorry everyone, sorry to all. I am the worst, most harmful role model," Ko added, fiddling with a handkerchief amid the sound of flashing cameras.

Tests showed that Ko had used marijuana, Chinese police said.

Authorities have mounted a high-profile crackdown on drug use in recent months, detaining a number of celebrities.

More than 100 grams of cannabis was found in the raid at Jaycee Chan's residence in Beijing on August 14.

Soon after, Ko was paraded on state television, his face heavily pixelated, where he pleaded forgiveness for his actions.

"I've been a very bad example," Ko said, sobbing, wearing prison garb in the interview with state broadcaster CCTV.

Taiwanese media said the actor - who was reported to have previously been involved in an anti-drugs campaign - intended to hold another press conference in Taipei Saturday to "issue an apology" to fans on the island.

Cocaine haul

Meanwhile, Chinese police have with US help seized 70 kilograms of cocaine in the country's biggest single haul in recent years, state media said.

Police were tipped off about a suspect shipping container from Peru by United States Drug Enforcement Administration officials, the official news agency Xinhua said.

"By analysing phone messages and emails of a Mexican drug cartel member who had been murdered, the DEA said the container would arrive in Shanghai on Aug. 18, from where it would be put on board a ship destined for New Zealand," the Xinhua report said Thursday.

Police and customs officials searched the ship upon its arrival in Shanghai and found the cocaine, Xinhua said, describing it as "the largest amount ever recovered by Chinese police in a single case in recent years".

It had a US street value of more than $6.5 million, according to the most recent estimates from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

China's public security ministry said it had "in recent years strengthened cooperation with foreign agencies including the DEA", the report said.

No information on the case could be found on the ministry's website or online blog, and it did not immediately respond to a request for information from AFP.

Drugs that are illegally imported into China often come through its porous southern borders around the Mekong, but instances of cocaine entering from South America "have been on the rise", Xinhua said.

Use of recreational drugs such as methamphetamine and ecstasy has risen in recent years as an economic boom has boosted the middle classes' disposable income.

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