Kung fu hero Jackie Chan is known for doing his own stunt work in all his films, but it’s a fight scene that happened off the screen that nearly landed him in trouble. Last week Hong Kong police announced they had dropped their investigation into Chan’s claims that he’d faced down a group of thugs while brandishing a small arsenal of weaponry, saying there was no evidence.
In an interview with the Chinese magazine Southern People Weekly in December, the 58 year-old film star said that at one point in his career he had come under threat from Hong Kong’s notorious triad gangs. Without elaborating when exactly, he claimed that he and other actors had been subject to extortion and threatened by gun-wielding villains. “In the past, when they bullied me, I hid in the United States,” he told the magazine, according to a report in the South China Morning Post. “They opened fire at me once I got off the airplane.”
(PHOTOS: Jackie Chan: A Life in Action)
Finally, the Rush Hour star had enough and fought back, he told the magazine. “When I returned to Hong Kong and ate outside, more than 20 people surrounded me with melon knives,” he said. “I pulled out a gun, and had two more concealed. I told them they had been going too far.”
“I confronted them with two guns and six grenades,” he added, although he failed to elaborate on how the stand-off ended.
Chan’s comments, however, made him the subject of a police investigation: the possession of firearms without a license is punishable by up to 14 years of prison in Hong Kong, which is a special administrative region of China. After detectives met with the movie star last week, they decided to drop the case for lack of proof. While Chan allegedly did not take back his guns and granades claim, he did say that the incident did not actually take place in Hong Kong, the South China Morning Post reported.
The visibility of southern China’s triad gangs has waned in recent years following a crackdown on gang activity in the 1990s and the arrest of major bosses like “Big Spender” Cheung Tze-keung — executed in China in 1998 after kidnapping the sons of two Hong Kong tycoons — and “Broken Tooth” Wan Kuok Koi. (Koi was released from prison in neighboring Macau last month, the Macau Daily Times reported, after serving nearly 15 years for crimes including plotting to assassinate the former Portuguese colony’s chief of police.) But the criminal underworld is still active: in Hong Kong, a Christmas Eve raid by police led to the arrest of 56 gang members and the discovery of an armory “used in triad campaigns to expand power in the district,” as Acting Senior Superintendent Au Chin-chau of the Hong Kong Police told the Post.