Taiwanese movie star Kai Ko has been released from a 14-day administrative detention in a Beijing holding center after testing positive for marijuana at a police bust that went down at a private party two weeks ago. His release was the hottest Chinese and Taiwan media topic all week and over 100 reporters waited outside the detention center to catch him leaving but came away empty handed since he was released through either a private exit or by covert police escort. The media didn’t have to wait long to see Kai as there was another batch stationed at his parents hotel in downtown Beijing and the media storm erupted when he was spotted entering the premises. Thankfully no one got trampled or injured in the melee and Kai and his parents safely made it back to their rooms. The next day Kai attended a scheduled media apology event down in the hotel ballroom where he delivered as heartfelt a mea culpa groveling apology as can be expected. There was so much crying one would think Kai was involved in a deadly hit-and-run and someone actually died, as opposed to him getting arrested for smoking pot.
I fully understand the Western perception that this is overkill and much ado about nothing, but in the Asian culture all drugs (even marijuana) remains a social taboo on top of it being illegal. The reaction of the Asian media and fans is understandable in that context, though it’s also undeniable that Kai Ko (and Jaycee Chan) were just unlucky enough to be busted while many of their pot-smoking entertainment brethren simply missed being at the scene rather than holding a holier than thou mentality of never touching pot. But being busted means Kai has to deal with the consequences and fall out and I must say he’s handling it the best way possible by being forthright and apologetic. During the press conference he bowed low at the waist three times, and his parents joined as well to apologize for not raising their son right, and Kai fully accepted all the responsibility for the mistake and bad decision he made to do drugs. He also made clear that Jaycee was not to be blamed for being older and leading him astray, so to speak, Kai said it was his choice to do pot and no one else is responsible for him breaking the law other than himself. Good for him not throwing a friend under the bus.
Kai’s press conference lasted over 20 minutes so I’m not going to translate it all. He was very candid in answering every reporter question and kept saying that it was all his own fault and he was willing to accept the consequences. He apologized to his fans, to his family, to his agency, and to all the production staff that worked on his movies, for letting them down and for impacting either their own livelihoods or their image of him. All he plans to do is reflect on his mistake and do his best to change, vowing never to touch drugs ever again and asking that what he did not be seen as something for the youngsters to emulate.
Kai said that he wants to be a cautionary tale for kids tempted to do drugs. He said “My doing drugs will be like an ugly scar that follows me for the rest of my life.” His agency director Angie Tsai has indicated that Kai will be taking a break from all entertainment activities and go into deep reflection going forward, while he will respect whatever the production company of his upcoming films plan to do with his role (either get cut) or shelving any movies. I think if Kai wants to recover his career this is as good of a starting point as any so that he can hope to one day move on from this low point.
Press conference news report:
I like his forthrightness in accepting his mistake. Everyone makes mistakes in life. What’s important is to admit it and turn over a new leaf. I think this scandal was handled a lot better than how K entertainment companies usually handle scandals (which is to sweep everything under the rug and pretend nothing happened.)
Such a contrast…. the one who smoked weed admits to his mistake, takes all reponsibility and steps out of celebrity activities.
meanwhile the one who repeatedly beat his girlfriend lied about the relationship, tried to claim that the beatings were just ‘one time fooling around’, and is now going on an Asia tour giving concerts.
As unfair as such comparisons are, I must admit, that the same thought crossed my mind when I watched the video.
And it’s sickening that fans still support that woman-beating and the society doesn’t give a f**k. -_-
I hope he is allowed to make a comeback.
Being a child of both Western and Chinese cultures, I understand the mores of both cultures pretty well. And while I think it’s very hypocritical of the Chinese culture to be so draconic when dealing with pot (when they allow alcoholism and smoking to be rampant throughout their society), I also understand the culture enough to know that if you want to be famous and have all the accoutrements related to fame, you HAVE to conduct yourself in a manner that befits a good role model.
Really, he should have just smoked somewhere besides mainland China, but he’s also a 23 year old kid. He’ll definitely learn from this. I just hope it hasn’t ruined his career before it really began….
I believe Chinese culture is more sensitive towards pot or any drug use compare to alcohol or cigarettes is because of the Opium War back in the old days… When I was young, whenever we visit my grandparents, my granddad would asked my dad whether any of his grandchildren smoke… I still remember his words.. “smoking is bad, it will lead them to drugs and they will become weak and taken advantage by bad people..”
Thank you for bringing up the Opium War – there is way, way more to the Chinese attitude towards drugs than mainland power-tripping.
Just because it has a similar mechanism of ingestion as other drugs does not make it the same.
Opium is highly addictive, so there’s a good reason why it’s illegal nearly everywhere. Marijuana is at worst as addictive as alcohol, and less addictive than nicotine. I don’t see calls to ban cigarettes because of the Opium Wars (though I wouldn’t mind them as I don’t smoke either of them).
The point is that it’s a relatively harmless practice in the grand scheme of things, and there are worse vices (alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, etc.).
The scientific argument about the various addictive properties of alcohol and nicotine versus pot and other more deadly drugs like heroine and cocaine and meth isn’t one that has any bearing in Chinese culture. The drugs that are illegal are accepted as that rather than discussion over removing pot from the list. That’s a very Western argument. Alcohol is regulated to the degree that you can’t drink and drive/fly/operate a boat, so you can drive all you want but your actions afterwards are limited by law.
It’s not just about the addictive quality, the anti-drug position is also because of the belief that drug use renders one prone to be taken advantaged of, to be dazed, stoned, confused, disoriented, etc. You can say that alcohol does that as well but one would need to drink a lot to get there. I agree that to the Western belief smoking pot is a relatively harmless practice, and probably the younger generation in Asia has more people who think this way as well. But it’s just a reality that the words “drug user” is such a badge of shame and a scarlet letter regardless of whether it’s an overreaction and pot should be legalized and removed from that list of prohibited substances. It’s currently prohibited, Kai was in China, he shouldn’t have done it. He can go plenty of places where it’s legalized to do it is really what it all comes down to.
One thing I do agree is that he knows better than us here how it is perceived and should have been more careful but i do believe that he had his lesson learned & I really respect how he specifically did not let his friend take all blame for his mistake (even though no matter what he says, his friend is still in bigger shit than him). For that alone I hope his movies don’t get shelved and gets forgiveness from the public to start anew.
Pardon me for being cynical but it’s not smoking pot that will scar him for life (not at this point since there’s no evidence he’s drug-dependent). It’s getting CAUGHT doing pot that’ll scar him, his family and his career. But I sincerely hope he learns from this and avoid “fun things” that could have major consequences.
Personally, I’m against all illegal and recreational drug use but I certainly won’t persecute anyone who wants to try them or use them judiciously. Key words: TRY and USE JUDICIOUSLY. I just want these people to be wise about it and do them in a safe environment. Say, not in the middle of a drinking party in someone else’s house. That’s tempting fate and inviting chaos.
Back to Kai though. This isn’t the end of his career. I’m sure of that. In the end, there was no one hurt but himself. This is one mistake that’s easy to rectify compared to other celeb missteps. After a suitable reflection period and time away from the spot light, I hope he gets back to working and prove to people that he’s become wiser, stronger and more driven. Best of luck to him.
I agree, Kai will still have an entertainment career. He did all the right things to apologize and be remorseful. But I don’t think he will ever have the career he had or could have had not he not had this stain. He was one of the brightest and most popular Taiwanese actors to come out of the industry in the last decade. It was pretty much the sky’s the limit which is really what people will lament ten years from now, what could have been Kai’s career versus the career he ended up having because of this.
So basically, he’s China’s Joo Ji Hoon? 🙁
:'( I hope he has learnt from his mistake. He’s a wonderful actor <3
So true! Lots of celebrities do drugs the only difference is they didn’t manage to get caught! I guess that’s how it works..
Well, it was illegal and he got caught so he has to pay. Those who are lucky enough to not get caught or have more money and influence to buy their way out (I know there is), I hope they learn their lesson too. I am against illegal use of drugs and recreation use of it cause it’s often a slippery slope. But I do believe alcoholism is must deadlier. Either way, he broke the law. And he must suffer the consequences. Hopefully he will come out of this stronger and have a chance to make a comeback in the future.
OMG… in Holland… everybody smoke weed… and it’s like a cigarette..
I feel the worst for his parents having to apologize for raising him wrong…I can see exactly where that can comes from as an Asian myself…. And I know how bad the parent blaming is in my culture when something like this happens but ultimately as an adult it was his own choice and i always feel terrible for the parents….I hope they can bounce back from this
*sigh* too bad, this incident is. After watched two of his film, i really have a soft spot for him. Not the most handsome actor ever, but there’s something natural and sweet from his acting.
I hope even after this, he still can act in a good movie.
I hope he makes a comeback in the future. It’s not like his action hurts others but himself. Reflection is enough.