Li Yifeng, a popular Chinese actor, has been detained by police for allegedly soliciting sex workers.
The 35-year-old, also known as Evan Li, has more than 60 million followers on Weibo and rose to fame in 2007 when he took part in a reality TV series.
Beijing Police’s official Weibo had announced on Sunday Sep. 11 that they had arrested a 35-year-old Chinese actor with the last name “Li” for soliciting sex workers on several occasions.
Chinese state media CCTV then reported that Li Yifeng was the actor in this scandal, according to ZaoBao.
Prior to the arrest went public, his name was removed from a list of celebrities that were expected to appear at the Mid-Autumn Festival Gala on state TV on Saturday, according to the BBC.
Li and his agent’s social media accounts both issued a statement on Weibo on Saturday Sep. 10th, claiming the accusations are unreal.
His studio said “always abided by professional ethics, adhered to the moral bottom line and actively shown social responsibility,” the BBC reported.
“The remarks about Li Yifeng on the internet are untrue and have been fabricated and spread maliciously by people with ulterior motives,” the statement said.
However, it was deleted within 24 hours.
Not long after the official announcement, the news went viral on Weibo, with related topic hashtags hitting 2 billion views.
Li was then dropped by several luxury brands such as Prada.
After the incident, he lost more than 30,000 followers on Weibo.
Li is the latest star to be prosecuted in China as officials crack down on celebrities over the influence they have over young people.
In July 2021, Chinese-Canadian rapper Kris Wu was arrested for allegedly raping and luring underaged girls into have sex with him.