Published Sep 12, 2011Vancouver indie rockers Behind Sapphire have been struck with every band's worst nightmare while touring overseas: singer Grant Cassell has been detained by police in China and is currently being held in jail.
In a letter to the Vancouver Sun, guitarist Matthew Mazankowski said that Cassell and guitarist Lindsay Sjoberg were interrogated for eight hours while departing from Shanghai en route to Chengdu. Sjoberg was eventually released, but Cassell was "transferred to a police station/jail somewhere in the city of Shanghai, where they will keep him for three days."
The police will then reportedly escort him to the airport where he will be placed on a plane to Chengdu in time for the band's show on the 16th. While this sounds promising, Mazankowski noted, "I am not sure of all the things that have happened to Grant and how they are treating him -- but I can't imagine it being very pleasant. He had a heavy heart, the last that Lindsay spoke with him."
What exactly Cassell is being accused of isn't clear. Mazankowski added, "We have an amazing team here in China working through this. We are just constantly praying and thinking about Grant hoping he will be safe."
Behind Sapphire are expected to release a video statement sometime today (September 12).
Hopefully, Cassell will be free and safe soon and the band can return home to resume their participation in Vancouver's PEAK Performance Project. Stay tuned for updates on the situation.
UPDATE: According to a post on Behind Sapphire's Facebook page from Cassell's mother, he may have been arrested for having antique gun shells in his bag at the Shanghai airport. She writes, "You know grant likes antique things and he had some antique gun shells in his bag from a long time ago and forgot thay were there they checked their bags in shanghai and found them. He has been interogated and is now in jail. They have someone helping them to communicate."