Jackie Chan's son Jaycee to be tried in public over drug charge

Hong Kong actor Jaycee Chan arrives at the Hong Kong Film Awards in this April 19, 2009 photo. Chan, who was arrested over drugs last August, will stand trial in Beijing on drug charges this week. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Hong Kong actor Jaycee Chan arrives at the Hong Kong Film Awards in this April 19, 2009 photo. Chan, who was arrested over drugs last August, will stand trial in Beijing on drug charges this week. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) - Jaycee Chan, the son of kung fu movie star Jackie Chan, will stand trial on Friday on a drugs charge, media reported on Tuesday, the latest in a series of minor celebrities accused of narcotics offences.

The microblog post from the semi-official newspaper, Legal Evening News, said the younger Chan, a 32-year-old actor and singer, would be tried in Eastern District Court in Beijing in a case that will be closely watched by the Chinese people.

He was formally charged last month with "the crime of sheltering others to take drugs" after testing positive for marijuana, with police saying they found 100 gms of the drug at his home.

Calls to the Eastern District Court went unanswered.

Jaycee Chan is among a string of other mostly B-list celebrities detained last year by Chinese authorities on drug-related charges that have been publicised widely in both state and social media.

They have included movie and television stars, film directors and a prominent screenwriter. Jaycee Chan was nabbed on Aug 14 in Beijing along with Taiwan actor Kai Ko, who also tested positive for marijuana.

Their detentions came amid a campaign by China's Ministry of Public Security to get tough on drugs, gambling and prostitution.

It is highly likely that Jaycee Chan will be found guilty as convictions are nearly certain in Chinese courts, which are controlled by the ruling Communist Party.

Drug crimes carry harsh penalties in China, including death or life imprisonment in serious cases.

The maximum sentence for providing a venue for drug users, according to Chinese law, is three years in prison and a fine, reported Xinhua news agency.

Illegal drugs, especially synthetic substances like methamphetamine, ketamine and ecstasy, have grown in popularity in China in tandem with the rise of a new urban class with greater disposable income.

Last month, state media reported that Jackie Chan felt ashamed of his son's drug abuse and hoped that one day he would speak out about the dangers of taking drugs. The older Chan had served as a goodwill spokesman for the China National Anti-Drug Committee in 2009, promoting anti-drug education.