Cheng Chin-i (鄭進一), a famed songwriter and singer whose moving lyrics on family life have touched millions of people for years, was detained early yesterday on drug charges.
The 55-year-old entertainer was reportedly asleep when the police raided his apartment in Sanchong District (三重), New Taipei City (新北市). Cable networks said police reported finding 2.2g of amphetamines as well as a smoking pipe in his room.
Cheng was brought to the Criminal Investigation Division at the Taipei City Police Department for questioning.
Neither Cheng nor law enforcement authorities have commented publicly on the incident.
However, media reported Cheng as saying he was not a habitual drug user and that the amphetamines found in the raid were given to him by a friend a few weeks ago.
Cheng’s agent Hsieh Hsi-hui (謝思慧) told reporters that Cheng was not under any financial pressure and that despite his history of failed relationships, the songwriter was not facing any emotional difficulties.
After having a string of high-profile girlfriends, Cheng surprised everybody when he married in 2006. However, the couple divorced less than a year later, which Cheng at the time attributed to being unable to sleep with the same woman for too long.
“We beg the public to give him some space and a chance. I have not spoken to him so I don’t know the exact details, but we respect the legal process and will hold a press conference at a later time,” Hsieh said.
Often touted for his musical talent and crowned as a “musical genius” by his show business friends, Cheng started his entertainment career when he was six years old.
Over the last five decades, he has released 18 albums and written more than 180 songs. Many of them are among the most requested at KTV establishments, such as the international hit Ke Au (or “wife” in Hoklo, also known as Taiwanese) sung by Taiwanese music queen Jody Chiang (江蕙), which topped the charts for weeks a few years ago.
Although he has appeared in several movies, Cheng won greater affection from TV audiences with his witty humor when he crossed over to the variety show world.
The last two concerts of Cheng’s nationwide tour are scheduled for the end of this month in Greater Kaohsiung. There’s no word yet on whether the concerts will be canceled.