Jaycee Chan says he's sorry, 'no excuse' for drug offence

Jaycee Chan, the son of Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, looking towards the exit near the end of a press conference in Beijing on Feb 14, 2015 following his release from jail.  -- PHOTO: AFP
Jaycee Chan, the son of Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, looking towards the exit near the end of a press conference in Beijing on Feb 14, 2015 following his release from jail.  -- PHOTO: AFP
Jaycee Chan, the son of Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, bowing after a press conference in Beijing on Feb 14, 2015 following his release from jail. -- PHOTO: AFP
Jaycee Chan, the son of Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, bowing after a press conference in Beijing on Feb 14, 2015 following his release from jail. -- PHOTO: AFP

Jaycee Chan, the 32-year-old only son of superstar Jackie Chan, has apologised formally for the first time since his release from jail in China for sheltering drug users.

"Sorry, I was wrong", said Jaycee Chan, dressed in a sombre black shirt and dark grey jacket, at a televised press conference in Beijing on Saturday afternoon. The actor-singer and his manager then bowed deeply on stage.

"As a public figure, this incident has had a negative impact on society, disappointed many people who supported me and caused everyone who has worked with me to suffer losses," said Chan in a speech that ran to nearly four minutes long.

"I have no reasons and no excuse whatsoever (for what I did). I was wrong."

Chan was released from a Beijing jail at 12.40am on Friday after serving a six-month sentence for providing a venue for people to use drugs four times since 2012. He was arrested by Chinese police in August and tested positive for marijuana. Investigators also found 117.7g of the drug in Chan's apartment in Beijing.

Taiwanese actor Kai Ko, 23, was arrested with Chan and also tested positive for marijuana. He was released after two weeks in detention.

The actors were nabbed as part of an ongoing, wider crackdown on drug use that has also snared other mainland celebrities.

Chan's press conference on Saturday was broadcast live on Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, sending a signal that Beijing hopes that the high-profile case would serve as a warning to the people.

The younger Chan said he did not receive preferential treatment in jail, nor did his father attempt to use his influence to lessen the sentence for his offence, which has put his career in doubt.

He also said he had "corrected" his values after the incident. He described a contemplative life behind bars consisting of history discussions with a cell mate and reading about Buddhism. At one point Chan recited a quote from a philosophy book he read while inside.

The book, he told reporters, was written by a Taiwanese Buddhist master and entitled “Put it down”.

"In the past I really didn't know how to cherish the things around me," he said.

"In court, I said that while I would be punished by law, it didn't mean that I'd gained the forgiveness of society. Because trust has to be build up, bit by bit, over time.

"After this lesson, it's even clearer to me what I need to do in the next phase of my life, and what I should never do.

"From now on, I will work hard, and through my acts and attitude, build up bit by bit. But I will not forget what I did, so that I won't commit the same mistake again.

"What I need to do now is to apologise to the public for what I did.

"I'm really very sorry. I will be a law-abiding person from now on."

Jackie Chan, who is on a publicity tour for his new movie, Dragon Blade, did not attend the press conference.

He had told reporters he was not worried about his son being banned from show business in China, because he hoped Jaycee will move on to a stable career behind the scenes, with his own management company.

He also said Jaycee's first job out of jail was to finish recording an album he had been working on before his arrest.

"Freedom is great, I will cherish it. I will repay my parents for bringing me up," Jaycee, whose mother is Taiwanese actress Lin Feng-jiao, said on Saturday.

seokhwai@sph.com.sgADDITIONAL REPORTING BY REUTERS