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Four students from one of Beijing’s major international schools were detained by police late on the evening of Friday April 17, for alleged involvement with marijuana at a family home in the gated villa community Beijing Riviera. A source close to the international school has confirmed that one of the students has since been released and is home with his family.
A Beijing Television (BTV) report uploaded on April 21 shows footage of the raid. According to the report, that evening the anti-drug squad in Chaoyang District received a tip-off from an anonymous source that there were people using marijuana at a townhouse residence in the Beijing Riviera villa complex.
The video shows four plainclothes policemen entering the townhouse followed by cameramen. They discover four teenagers watching TV with the lights out in the living room on the first floor. As the police instruct the teens to turn on the lights, a woman’s voice asks from upstairs “What’s going on?” to which the officers respond, “Police.”
Two of the four teenagers, 18-year-old twin brothers surnamed Huang, are the sons of the home’s owner, identified as Mr. Huang by the BTV report. Both parents were upstairs in the property when the raid began.
The footage shows excerpts of Mr. Huang’s conversation with the police in which an officer police tells Mr. Huang, “All four kids here are using marijuana, and they need to go with me.” Mr. Huang responds, “Two of them are my kids.”
Mr. Huang then asks the police if the boys are aware of what’s going on, and requests that the police give him a minute to talk with his sons and explain the situation to them. The police reply, “They know exactly what’s going on.”
We can’t confirm from the video if Mr. Huang was able to converse with the boys as requested, however, the report later shows the police, the four students, and the parents sitting together in the living room. It seems as though the police did not remove the teens immediately, and that the parents had some opportunity to talk to them in the presence of the officers.
The video shows the twin’s distraught mother sitting on the floor, crying “This has to be a bad dream! Wo yao feng le! (I’m going to go nuts!).”
According to the report, during interrogation the twins admit they started using marijuana a year ago, and one admitted having smoked marijuana in Sanlitun a few weeks before. The report goes on to say the teens admitted to inviting friends over to smoke together when their parents weren’t at home.
According to the report, the twins bought one gram of marijuana earlier that Friday in the afternoon, from a dealer surnamed Xiao. They then invited their two friends to their home to smoke the marijuana. The police entered the home just as they finished, so the footage doesn’t capture the boys smoking.
There may still be concrete evidence against them as the most common way to test for marijuana use is through urinalysis. All four teens were removed from the residence by police.
Based on information provided by the twins, a police squad then went to Nanluoguxiang and located Xiao, who is a second-year university student. The report says that he started using drugs before running out of money and becoming a dealer.
When the police ask Xiao how much he has sold, he says he has sold 4 grams. The footage shows two large marijuana buds in a zip locked bag. He says his price is RMB 200 per gram. Xiao was arrested.
The report says the two friends of the Huang twins have been detained for using illegal drugs, and according to Chinese law, they will be detained for 10 to 15 days and fined up to RMB 2000. As mentioned above, according to a source close to the international school all four boys attended, one of those two friends has since been released.
The twins, who recently turned 18, are possibly facing a much more severe charge: providing a venue for drug use. According to Chinese criminal law, those convicted of providing a venue for drug may be sentenced to up to three years in jail.
Chinese celebrity Jaycee Chan, son of actor Jackie Chan, was convicted under this law in 2014, and was released after 6 months for good behavior.
In the editorializing style that is common in many Chinese news broadcasts, the BTV news anchor had harsh words for both the parents and the teachers of the boys: “With four students from one elite international school, naturally you can blame the teachers, but parents are even more responsible.” He also cautioned that “Spending all the money in the world on your kids doesn’t equal educating them in a correct way and leading them to a ‘wholesome’ life.”
Patrick Li also contributed to this report.
Video: Courtesy of BTV, iqiyi