CHARGED: R Kelly owes R2.2million. Photo: AP

R Kelly was taken into custody on Wednesday for failing to pay child support, just weeks after he was detained on sex abuse charges.

The singer was unable to come up with the $161 000 (about R2.2 million) he owes in payments to his ex-wife and their three children, and a judge in Chicago, where Kelly lives, ordered that he be arrested.

It was the latest legal setback for the 52-year-old R&B star who pleaded not guilty on 25 February to 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four victims, three of them minors.

Kelly’s representatives say he is having financial difficulties.

He has been the target of a boycott campaign amid mounting allegations of sexual abuse.

           CUSTODY: Star’s Ex-wife with kids

Kelly was prepared to pay $50 000 to $60 000 of what he owed, but the judge required the full amount.

“We were coming expecting that he was gonna come and make an arrangement, but they wanted the entire amount,” Darryll Johnson said.

Kelly, who arrived in court in a blue business suit, was “expecting to leave”, Johnson said.

Instead, he was taken into custody and escorted from the courtroom by a police officer. He will likely remain in jail until his next court hearing on 13 March.

“The reason he can’t pay, as you know, he hadn’t worked in a long time. He can’t book shows he can’t do anything,” Johnson said.

Kelly spent three nights in jail last month after being arrested on criminal sex abuse charges.

He initially was unable to arrange payment of a $100,000 bail.

His attorney said at the time that Kelly’s finances were “a mess.”

Kelly’s ex-wife Andrea Kelly, also has previously accused him of abuse.

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