Drug-linked Chinese film director out of custody

Updated: 2008-01-19 14:31

BEIJING -- Famed Chinese film director Zhang Yuan, accused of drug use, has been out of custody, according to Saturday's Beijing News.

The news paper quoted an eyewitness as saying that Zhang had dined with friends at a restaurant in east Beijing on Thursday evening.

Yang Jinsong, a friend close to Zhang, also confirmed that Zhang has been released after days in custody, the newspaper said.

"He was in good condition and talked with friends about his new movies," Yang said.

The Beijing police refused to confirm the news for protecting his privacy.

Zhang was caught by the police taking a variety of drugs with four friends at home on January 9, according to the Beijing Television report.

A subsequent urine sample tested positive for ketamine and ice, the report said.

Zhang, 45, is known as a leading member of China's "Sixth Generation" directors.

He had won the Best Director Award at the Venice International Film in 1998 by the movie "17 Years". Another movie directed by him, "Little Red Flowers", won an award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2006.

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