Shamed actor Ko Chen-tung faces criminal probe when he returns to Taiwan

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 August, 2014, 12:18pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 August, 2014, 6:26am

Taiwanese actor Ko Chen-tung will face a criminal investigation when he returns to the island, after serving 14 days in detention in Beijing for drug offences, according to Taiwan prosecutors.

The 23-year-old actor, also known as Kai Ko, was released from detention early yesterday. Beijing police said he confessed to having smoked marijuana and promised not to use drugs again.

Watch: Taiwan actor Kai Ko Chen-tung released in Beijing

"The offences are subject to administrative punishment on the mainland, but marijuana is listed as a category 2 drug in Taiwan, meaning whoever is found using it will face criminal punishment," Taipei District Prosecutors' Office spokesman Huang Mou-hsin said yesterday.

Huang said that as this was the first time Ko had been caught using marijuana, he would either face up to two months of compulsory rehabilitation or a two-year suspended jail sentence.

He said his office had asked mainland authorities for help over the evidence they gathered.

Taipei police said they would send officers to the airport to question Ko when he arrived, and it was up to the prosecutor in charge to decide whether the actor would be taken to the district prosecutor's office for further questioning.

The incident is certain to affect not only Ko's acting career but also the contracts he has on the mainland and Taiwan to promote more than 20 brands, ranging from food, fashion and cosmetics to finance and cars.

Yesterday afternoon in Beijing, Ko made a tearful apology to his supporters, and promised to cooperate fully with investigators on his return to Taiwan.

"I am sorry," he said. "I made a mistake by taking drugs. I don't have any excuse or any reason.

"I let down my loved ones. I will not do anything to violate the law again. I'm sorry to everyone. I've done the worst thing and become the worst example.

"I'll be brave and make myself a better person."

Ko's father, Ko Yao-tsung, who picked the actor up from the detention centre, apologised to the public and said he bore parental responsibility for his son's mistake.

"In the coming days we'll still love him and we'll be more cautious and strict about supervising his behaviour," he said.

Asked about the prospect of entertainment companies cancelling his performances, the actor said: "All I need to do now is to make my wrongs right and improve myself. The decisions are up to [the companies]," he said.

Ko denied Hong Kong actor Jaycee Chan, also known as Jaycee Fong Cho-ming and Fang Zuming, was to blame for his detention. "I don't blame Fang Zuming. I take responsibility for myself," he said.

Beijing police said they were still investigating Chan's case. Chan, the son of action star Jackie Chan, was taken into custody for "providing a shelter for others to abuse drugs" along with Ko on August 14.

Police say they recovered more than 100 grams of marijuana from Chan's home.