Chinese Canadian pop singer Kris Wu defrauded in sexual assault scandal, say police

A man has confessed to defrauding Chinese Canadian pop singer Kris Wu, over a teenager's accusation he sexually assaulted her when she was drunk, Beijing police said Thursday.

Former member of Korean boy band EXO was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl

Chinese Canadian pop singer Kris Wu arrives on the red carpet at the iHeartRadio MMVAs in Toronto on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018. On Thursday, Bejing police said a man confessed to defrauding Wu over a teenager's accusation that he sexually assaulted her. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

A man has confessed to defrauding Chinese Canadian pop singer Kris Wu over a teenager's accusation he sexually assaulted her when she was drunk, Beijing police said Thursday.

The announcement added a bizarre twist to a scandal that cost Wu — who is 30 and grew up partly in Vancouver — endorsement contracts with brands including Porsche and Bulgari. The former member of Korean boy band EXO has denied the accusation, prompting an outpouring of support for the woman and criticism of Wu online.

A man who saw rumours about the incident online contacted the woman in June and obtained information that allowed him to pretend to be her lawyer, police said in a statement, that did not suggest the woman was accused of taking part in the fraud.

The man talked Wu's mother into sending the woman 500,000 yuan (about $97,300 Cdn). Then, pretending to be Wu's lawyer, the man tried to persuade the woman to send the money to him, the police statement said.

It said he tried unsuccessfully to obtain an additional 2.5 million yuan (about $486,500 Cdn) from Wu's family.

Police arrested the man, who they identified only by the surname Liu, Sunday in Nantong, near Shanghai. The arrest followed a complaint to police from the singer's mother, who said the family had been defrauded, according to the Beijing Public Security Bureau statement. In the statement, police said he confessed.

The woman had been quoted by the internet portal NetEase as saying Wu encouraged her to drink too much at a party in December and she woke up in his bed. In a statement on his social media account, Wu said he met the woman but denied encouraging her to drink and said other parts of her account didn't happen.

The woman said other women told her Wu seduced them, sometimes when they were under 18, with promises of jobs and other opportunities. There was no indication any were under China's age of consent of 14 or that Wu faces accusations of criminal misconduct.

Police are investigating the allegations, the police statement said.

Brands drop Wu

Several brands cut ties with Wu the day after the NetEase report, reflecting their sensitivity to public opinion after the ruling Communist Party stirred up anger at shoe and clothing brands in retaliation for Western reports of human rights abuses in the mostly Muslim region of Xinjiang in the northwest.

Wu, known in Chinese as Wu Yifan, grew up in Guangzhou in southern China and in Vancouver. He performed with EXO from 2012 to 2014, then launched a solo career.

As an actor, he appeared in 2017's xXx: Return of Xander Cage and two Chinese box office successes, Mr. Six and Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back.