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HK police say gangsters targeted Jackie Chan film

Company making Jackie Chan's movie was targeted by gangsters
Company making Jackie Chan's movie was targeted by suspected gangsters  

HONG KONG, China -- In a behind-the-scenes storyline itself worthy of an action film, Hong Kong police have charged a suspected gangster with collecting extortion money from a film company shooting a Jackie Chan movie.

A police spokeswoman said the 30-year-old, believed to be a secret society member, was arrested in a police ambush as he was collecting the money in a restaurant in the bustling Wanchai district on Tuesday.

The man demanded some "tens of thousands" of dollars in protection money from the producers of the sequel to "Rush Hour," police said. All the proceeds were recovered.

Local newspapers put the figure at US$64,000 (HK$500,000).

Police were still hunting for two other men believed to be linked to the case.

Newspapers said the movie company was on location in Hong Kong to shoot Chan's "Rush Hour 2."

Secret societies, or triads, are very active in Hong Kong and operate vice rings involved in prostitution, illegal gambling, protection rackets, copyright piracy and smuggling.

They have entrenched themselves in the local movie-making business, regularly demanding protection money from producers.

Some triads are even known to coerce popular entertainers into working for low-grade, x-rated films, which they finance.

Their invasion into the world of entertainment is often blamed for the deteriorating quality of Hong Kong movies in the 1990s and the exodus of talent overseas.

"Rush Hour 2" is the sequel to Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan's massively successful 1998 action comedy "Rush Hour", in which he teamed up with the American actor Chris Tucker.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Hong Kong Film Critics Society
Jackie Chan Website

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