Rehab urged as Jill Vidal returns

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 April, 2009, 12:00am

Canto-pop singer Jill Vidal should enter a drug rehabilitation centre if she wants to kick her heroin habit, experts said following her return yesterday to Hong Kong after a court appearance in Tokyo.

Vidal, 27, emerged in the arrivals hall at Hong Kong International Airport yesterday with swollen eyes, a red nose and chubby face following two months' incarceration in Japan. She managed a brief smile, then buried her face in her hands and appeared to be holding back tears. She was tight-lipped on her next move.

She went straight from the airport to her home in Butterfly Valley, Sham Shui Po, where officers from the police narcotics bureau searched her home for about an hour. Vidal's lawyer said the officers had found no drugs and that she would co-operate with police investigations.

Vidal later left her home for her father Joey's flat in Hung Hom.

The singer, who was supported yesterday by her father and record company staff, was released on Friday by the court in Tokyo after pleading guilty to possessing 1.84 grams of heroin. She was given a two-year jail term suspended for three years.

The star told the court she had been using heroin two to three times a week since last April. She admitted that drugs found in her luggage, including 11 packets of heroin, were brought from Hong Kong.

Popsy Sham, media supervisor for the singer's record label, AMusic, said Vidal would meet the media later.

The company would not say whether Vidal's contract would be terminated because of her court appearance.

Alman Chan Siu-cheuk, principal of Christian Zheng Sheng College on Lantau, which helps teenage drug addicts, said Vidal would have gone through the physical withdrawal from heroin during her detention but would have to undergo rehabilitation for at least a year if she wanted to break the shackles of her addiction.

'She needs to be detached from the environment that leads her to drugs,' he said. 'It is a very big risk for anyone to stay at home and quit drugs by his or her own determination. In my view, she should enter a rehabilitation for treatment for two to three years.'

David Cheung, supervisor of the Caritas Lok Heep Club, which runs drug treatment services, said psychological dependency was the hardest thing for heroin addicts to beat.

'It is mostly psychological reasons that lead to a relapse,' said Mr Cheung, adding that he had seen some drug addicts fail to quit despite 20 attempts to do so.

'I would recommend she seeks help if she is determined to quit,' he said.