The FBI is “concerned” about rumours that China has built up hidden “police stations” in several US cities.
The non-governmental organisation Safeguard Defenders released a study in September detailing the global spread of these stations, one of which is located in New York.
Christopher Wray, director of the FBI, recently informed top legislators that the bureau was keeping an eye on allegations of similar facilities popping up around the country.
We are aware of these stations,” Mr. Wray added.
He went on to remark, “To me, it is ridiculous to imagine that the Chinese police would seek to set up business, you know, in New York, let’s say, without adequate cooperation.” This action undermines national sovereignty and prevents the normal channels for judicial and law enforcement agencies to work together.
Mr. Wray said that the FBI was “looking into the legal limits” to see if the stations were in violation of US law.
At a hearing of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee of the United States Senate, the senior intelligence officer was subjected to intense questioning from prominent senators.
Safeguard Defenders, a non-governmental organisation located in Spain, claims that “overseas police service stations” were set up by Chinese police bureaus on many continents, including two in London and one in Glasgow. Toronto and New York were two of the cities in North America where it was shown.
According to reports, the units were formed to combat transnational crime and to offer administrative services to Chinese citizens living overseas, such as the renewal of Chinese driver’s licences and other consular services.
However, Safeguard Defenders said they serve a “more nefarious agenda” by aiding in “breaking down on all types of unlawful and criminal operations involving abroad Chinese.”
China has strongly denied any involvement in the broadcasting.
Mr. Wray stated that several cases had been initiated in the United States about the Chinese government’s harassment, stalking, surveillance, and extortion of persons in the United States who had been critical of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Since “we’re not the only place where this has occurred,” he added, “it’s a serious concern and something that we’re discussing with our overseas partners about, as well.”
In an effort to have one of them returned to China, the United States unveiled criminal charges in October against seven Chinese nationals accused of spying on and harassing a US resident and his family.
As a result of Safeguard Defenders’ efforts, the Irish government last month compelled one of the Chinese police stations in the heart of Dublin to shut down.
Officials from Canada’s intelligence service have lately stated that they are looking into claims that the Chinese have set up secret “police” stations in Canada.