Celebrities in firing line as China steps up drug war

Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:31am EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China is turning up the heat in a high-profile crackdown on drugs that has ensnared a string of celebrities, including the son of Hong Kong kungfu movie star Jackie Chan, as the government seeks to push forward a wider campaign against extravagance and decadence.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to go after corruption and excess among the elite, a prime source of public discontent as the gap between the poor and the wealthy continues to grow.

Actor and singer Jaycee Chan, 32, was arrested in Beijing after testing positive for marijuana, police said on Tuesday, and police found 100 grams of the drug at his home.

Police also arrested Taiwan movie star Ko Chen-tung, 23, after a drug test found he used marijuana, Xinhua news agency said.

Chan and Ko were arrested in central Beijing after police received a tip-off from residents, the state-backed Global Times reported.

The use of drugs in China, particularly synthetic drugs like methamphetamine, ketamine and ecstasy, has grown along with the rise of a new urban class with greater disposable income.

Xi has called for a clean-up of the so-called "four practices" of formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance. He said in June that China would "harshly crack down" on narcotics, state media reported.

Jackie Chan's management company, M’Stones International Corp, issued a statement on behalf of Jaycee saying it was standing by him.

Drug-related crimes carry harsh penalties in China including death or life imprisonment in serious cases.   Continued...

Hong Kong actor Jaycee Chan arrives at the Hong Kong Film Awards in this April 19, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Bobby Yip