Secret Chinese Police Station In London!

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  • Earlier this month Spanish NGO Safeguard Defenders said that there is an illegal overseas Chinese police service station with 110 overseas offices.
  • Many campaigners said that the illegal stations are nothing but China’s brazen expansion to intimidate Chinese nationals in different countries.
  • These Stations represent a dangerous incursion of China’s police state into free, democratic societies.

The unassuming real estate agent’s office on a run-down stretch of north London high street appears to be an unlikely hub of international intrigue, reported by Vice Media.

Public scrutiny

However, Hunter Realty in Hendon, northwest London, is under intense scrutiny following reports that it shares its premises with one of 54 illegal overseas Chinese police service stations. 

Which operates in 33 countries across five continents. With nine in Spain, four in Italy, and three in the UK, Europe has the most.

The network was revealed in a report by the Spanish NGO Safeguard Defenders earlier this month titled Chinese Transnational Policing Gone Wild.

It revealed that public security bureaus in the Chinese cities of Fuzhou and Qingtian had established dozens of “110 Overseas” offices, a reference to China’s emergency number.

Intimidating expansion

Campaigners argue that the illegal police stations represent a brazen expansion of China’s security apparatus, allowing it to surveil and intimidate Chinese nationals even in countries where it has no jurisdiction.

“This instills tremendous fear in the overseas Chinese community,” Jing-Jie Chen, a Safeguard Defenders researcher based in Paris, told Vice World News.

“You’ve escaped an authoritarian regime, but you’re still not free.”

Sovereignty violation

The undeclared police “service stations,” according to Chen, are a clear violation of the sovereignty of the countries in which they operate, and represent a dangerous incursion of China’s police state into free, democratic societies.

Combating transnational crime

Chinese officials have been openly promoting the police service stations to Chinese nationals while adamantly denying any wrongdoing, despite the Netherlands and Ireland’s governments declaring the undeclared police stations to be illegal.

They have portrayed the police stations as a way to combat transnational crime, particularly telecommunications fraud, committed by overseas Chinese. 

As well as serving as service centers to let Chinese nationals abroad carry out routine administrative tasks, like renewing their driver licenses.

However, according to Safeguard Defenders, they are also being used to conduct “persuasion operations” to pressure Chinese nationals wanted by the state. 

Both political dissidents and criminal suspects, to return home to face punishment – often involving threats against family members still in China.

Onslaught threats

According to Dutch media, Wang Jingyu, a dissident refugee in the Netherlands, received threats and abuse from the police service station in Rotterdam, including a phone call telling him to “go back to China to solve [his] problems and to think about [his] parents.” 

In response to the revelations, the Dutch government stated that the secret police stations were illegal and that it would launch an investigation and take appropriate action.

Safeguard Defenders has also identified two cases in which criminal suspects were “persuaded” to return home from Europe to face charges. 

With the help of police service stations: in Madrid, Spain, in January 2020, and in Belgrade, Serbia, in October 2018.

The Chinese government has touted the success of its “persuasion operations,” with the Ministry of Public Security.

Claiming in August that it had persuaded 230,000 overseas fraud suspects to return home since April 2021.

Immediate closure

Governments reacted quickly to the network’s revelations. In Ireland, the government ordered the closure of a police station in central Dublin, which even advertised its presence as the “Fuzhou Police Overseas Service Station.”

The UK government has called the claims “very concerning,” with MPs planning a session in Parliament to gather evidence on the subject, while Canadian police have also launched an investigation.

The Hendon real estate office was one of three UK addresses included in a list of overseas police service stations released by officials in Fuzhou, which was replicated in the Safeguard Defenders report.

Key mystery

Hunter Realty shares the premises with the law firm New World Law Associates, whose phone number and address match those of the Hendon police station and whose existence is announced on a plaque on the wall outside the estate agents.

Richard Huang, the law firm’s manager, is also known as Shao Zhong Huang on the Companies House website.

Huang is also listed on LinkedIn as the manager of Hunter Realty, though Companies House records show he resigned as a director in May.

When Vice World News called the reported Chinese police service station in Hendon.

Which is also listed on the website for New World Law Associates, a man answered and immediately hung up when told he was speaking to a reporter.

The Chinese Embassy in London did not respond to a request for comment. 

Earlier this month, the Spanish newspaper El Correo quoted an unnamed Chinese diplomat as acknowledging the “persuasion operations”.

Saying that bilateral extradition treaties with European countries were “very cumbersome and Europe is reluctant to extradite to China.”

“I don’t see what’s wrong with putting criminals on trial.”

Further investigation

When a News group went to Hunter Realty to investigate further, the only staff member present was unsurprised by the media attention. 

The man, who only went by Ali, said Richard Huang was his boss and that he frequently had Chinese visitors in his back office on the property.

He had no knowledge of any secret Chinese police service station operating on the site, but said that since the report was released.

The business had been visited by a slew of reporters and activists protesting the Chinese government’s abuses.

“People have been protesting outside about China and its treatment of Muslims,” he said. “That’s difficult for me as a Muslim.”

Close ties

According to Chen of Safeguard Defenders, the police service stations were frequently linked to overseas Chinese associations.

Situated in the countries where they were based, which typically had close ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

The incident follows the earlier this month beating of a Hong Kong protester by consular staff at the Chinese consulate in Manchester, UK.

The assault, in which consul-general Zheng Xiyuan was filmed pulling the activist’s hair, was widely condemned.

Although China has reacted defiantly, with Zheng defending his violent response as “duty.”

The Chinese Embassy in London released a video on Thursday threatening that sheltering Hong Kong protesters would “bring disaster to Britain.” 

Which highlights the UK’s reliance on China as its third-largest trading partner and leading source of imports.

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Source: Vice

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