LAST WEEK’S sentencing of Jaycee Chan, son of Hong Kong martial arts superstar Jackie Chan, to six months in jail and a 2,000 yuan (RM1,153) fine for drug offences, is the latest evidence of the increasing prevalence of drug abuse in the Asian show-business circuit. The reasons cited for substance abuse include “lack of love”, “mounting pressure” and “depression”. Here is a look at some recent high-profile cases:
Jaycee Chan, 32
In August 2014, Jaycee was arrested in Beijing with Taiwanese actor Kai Ko (Ko Chen-tung) and some 117.7g of marijuana was found in his home. He has admitted to providing a venue for drug users four times since 2012. Ko and Jaycee tested positive for marijuana.
Jaycee was sentenced to six months in jail last Friday, with the term commencing from his first day in detention. He will be released in less than a month — on Feb 13.
It was reported that he was accorded leniency because of a three-page letter to his mother, former Taiwanese actress Lin Feng-jiao, while in prison.
The letter, however, brought to light his father’s “insufficient love” for him, and the significant stress Jaycee felt being born into a celebrity family and living in the shadow of a megastar.
He admitted struggling to find his own footing amidst the prospect of a “blank future”, despite his affluent background.
It is well known that Lin raised Jaycee — introduced to drugs by the wrong crowd of friends — in the United States and he only saw his busy father occasionally.
Kai Ko Chen-tung, 24
Taiwanese actor Ko was set for a successful career after his debut film You Are the Apple of My Eye won him the Best New Actor prize at 2011’s Golden Horse Awards.
However, his meteoric rise stalled when the news of him and Jaycee being caught doing drugs shocked the entertainment world. Ko served a 14-day detention in Beijing before returning to Taipei.
In October, the Taiwan authorities deferred their prosecution on the grounds that Ko had shown remorse and was truthful about his offences. They granted his request to undergo voluntary drug rehabilitation at a Taipei hospital at his own cost.
In late 2014, it was reported that Ko risked losing 20-odd endorsement deals worth NT$50 million (RM5.6 million) across China and Taiwan.
Li Daimo, 25
Another celebrity caught in China’s crackdown on drug abuse among entertainers is Li Daimo, who gained fame in The Voice of China.
In March last year, Beijing police arrested the singer and five others, at a Sanlintun home. The group tested positive for amphetamines and admitted to committing the act at Li’s home.
A native of Heilongjiang province, Li was among the first batch of reality-TV celebrities to emerge from the hit show. He has admitted to taking drugs since 2012 due to the “immense pressure” of being a celebrity. He was sentenced to nine months in prison and fined 2,000 yuan.
Suzanne Hsiao, 38
Taiwanese actress and singer Hsiao is one of the most obvious examples of destructive drug abuse.
Debuting as a fresh-faced beauty at 21, Hsiao has been arrested thrice since 2006 for various drug offences. The first offence sent her to a rehabilitation centre for 49 days. She was tested positive for cocaine and ketamine.
In the most recent incident, she was granted a conditional release in July 2012, after spending more than 440 days at the Taipei Women’s Detention Centre.
Hsiao was a rising star on first entering the entertainment industry in 1997. She was groomed by Singapore music gurus Lee Si Song and Lee Wei Song, who also nurtured songbird Stefanie Sun Yanzi.
Since her first run-in with the law, Hsiao has mostly stayed in the limelight only as tabloid fodder. Despite an announced comeback at a press conference in Beijing in April 2014, with the subsequent release of a single, reports later surfaced in July that she had attempted suicide.
Hsiao was spotted sitting on a window ledge on the seventh storey of an apartment after locking herself in her bedroom and was about to jump when firefighters arrived and foiled her attempt.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on January 16, 2015.