TAIPEI – Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu has been detained by Beijing police on suspicion of rape, police announced Saturday, following an accusation the former member of the Korean boy band EXO lured young women into sexual relationships.
Wu, 30, earlier was accused by a teenager of having sex with her while she was drunk. Wu denied the accusation.
The teenager said seven other women contacted her to say Wu seduced them with promises of jobs and other opportunities. She said some were under 18 but gave no indication whether they were younger than China's age of consent of 14.
Wu has been “criminally detained" on suspicion of rape "in response to relevant information reported on the internet" including that he “repeatedly lured young women to have sexual relations,” the police statement said. It gave no other details.
The pop star had previously denied the accusations. “There was no ‘groupie sex’! There was no ‘underage’!” Wu wrote last month on his social media account. “If there were this kind of thing, please everyone relax, I would put myself in jail!”
The news was trending as the no. 1 most searched topic on Weibo on Saturday night, and some users online started commenting on Wu's social media account, telling him to “Get out of China!"
Wu is a Canadian citizen, according to the police statement.
The official paper of the Communist Party, the People's Daily, weighed in on the case, saying in a short opinion post online that "Having a foreign nationality is not a protective talisman, and no matter how big the name is, there is no immunity.”
The teenager publicized her accusations on social media and later in an interview with the internet portal NetEase. A day after that interview appeared, at least 10 brands including Porsche and Louis Vuitton broke off endorsement and other deals with Wu.
According to the interview, she thought she was meeting Wu for a career opportunity. Instead, his staff who was present forced her to drink. As someone who did not go to bars, she said her tolerance was low and she was drunk after two drinks. The next day, she woke up in Wu's bed. That morning, he was kind to her and promised to take care of her, she said.
The teenager said that was the beginning of what she had thought was their relationship. This was the case until March, when he stopped returning her messages.
At first, she said she felt sorry for herself. But after she learned that there were other women who had been treated similarly, she said she felt there were others who were worse off.
“I don't believe this is just my own personal matter. You can even say that this is a problem with the atmosphere in China's entertainment circle," she said in the NetEase interview.
Wu said that he had met the young woman on Dec. 5, 2020, but “I didn’t force her to drink,” and “there was not this sort of ‘details’ she describes.”
“I didn’t expect my silence to encourage these rumors, and I couldn’t stand it!” Wu previously wrote. “There were a lot of people there that day who can bear witness.”
In an unexpected twist to the story, police said last week they had arrested a man who attempted to defraud both parties. The man, surnamed Liu, pretended to be a victim who'd had a similar experience with Wu in order to elicit personal information from the young woman.
The teenager and Wu both said they had asked authorities to investigate.
Saturday's statement didn't mention that case and gave no information about the status of that investigation.