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Son of Jackie Chan pleads guilty in China to drugs charge

BEIJING (Reuters) - Jaycee Chan, the son of kung fu movie star Jackie Chan, pleaded guilty on Friday to a drugs charge in a Chinese court, the latest celebrity felled by the government's aggressive anti-narcotics campaign.
/ Source: Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - Jaycee Chan, the son of kung fu movie star Jackie Chan, pleaded guilty on Friday to a drugs charge in a Chinese court, the latest celebrity felled by the government's aggressive anti-narcotics campaign.

The younger Chan, a 32-year-old actor and singer, 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 grams of the drug at his home.

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. If convicted, he faces a maximum prison sentence of three years.

Prosecutors said on Friday Jaycee Chan had made his home available for two people, surnamed Ke and Li, to smoke marijuana, according to a microblog post by Beijing's Eastern District Court, where Chan was being tried.

The court said Chan has "voluntarily pleaded guilty" to the prosecutors' allegations.

"I have broken the law and should be punished," Chan said in his final statement to the court, according to the court's microblog. "When I return to society, I will not repeat this because I have let my family and friends down yet again."

Dozens of reporters gathered outside the courthouse in Beijing for the trial.

Celebrities have been a major linchpin in the government's campaign to get tough on drugs. 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 publicized widely in both state and social media. They have included movie and television stars, film directors and a prominent screenwriter.

The court's microblog showed Chan in court, dressed in a black sweater and blue trousers.

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 hopes that one day he will 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.

Last year, a Chinese court jailed singer Li Daimo for nine months on a drug charge, according to Chinese media reports.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee, Additional reporting by Natalie Thomas; Editing by Nick Macfie)