NEW YORK, NY- Follow the money? The Daily Mail reports that last fall, FBI agents raided a building in Manhattan which was allegedly being used as a secret Chinese “police” station, staffed with “illegal cops” who were supposed to “solve crimes.”
The raid, which took place at the headquarters of the American Changle Association, a nonprofit which helps Chinese nationals who live in the Big Apple has ties to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the New York Times reports. The former chairman, Lu Jianshun, donated $4,000 to Adams’ successful mayoral campaign, the Times said.
The Mail wrote that the police station, located on the third floor of the organization’s building, is linked to a unit code named 110 Overseas, based in China’s Fujian province.
Law Enforcement Today has previously reported on the presence of these Chinese “police stations” not only in major U.S. cities, but also throughout Europe and Canada.
The U.S. Attorney’s office, which participated in the raid with the FBI, refused to comment when asked to authenticate the Times’ story.
The outlet visited the office in October, noting it is on top of a ramen shop and next door to an acupuncturist. In other words, it is understated in its appearance.
In fact, a receptionist at the acupuncturist’s office seemed surprised when told it was a secret police station. At the time of the visit, the station was closed and locals they spoke with said it was seldom opened.
Amid disturbing reports that the Chinese Communist Party is running illegal police operations on American soil, I sent a letter to @FBI Director Wray demanding immediate action to end these illegitimate and illegal operations.
Read more ⤵️https://t.co/0jusMd9ASC
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) January 13, 2023
The existence of the Chinese police stations’ existence in the US and elsewhere came about due to reporting from Safeguard Defenders, a Europe-based human rights organization. Last September, the group published a research piece detailing over 100 secret Chinese law enforcement installations worldwide.
FBI Counterintelligence Raided Chinese Police Station in New York | National Review
We’ll continue to push all liberal democracies to work closely together to counter the PRC’s transnational repression and its United Front influence operations.
— Laura Harth (@LauraHarth) January 13, 2023
The raid last fall was the first such move by law enforcement against a secret police facility in the US. Safeguard Defenders noted there are two such stations in the United States, the one in New York as well as one in Los Angeles and another undisclosed city.
The Times was unable to determine if Lu Jianshun, also known as Jimmy Lu, is a target of the federal probe. No arrests were reported by the feds; however materials were seized from offices during the raid.
At around the same time the raid was conducted, Adams appeared at a gala held by the American Changle Association, reported the New York Post. Only months earlier, the group’s tax-exempt status was pulled by the Internal Revenue Service.
According to propaganda issued by China, the police operations are described as “overseas police service centers” which assist Chinese citizens in solving crimes in their designated countries as well as assisting them with other issues, such as paperwork. The service centers do not collaborate with local officials.
In response to the Times story, the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC said personnel at the centers “are not police personnel from China,” and there was “no need to make people nervous about this.”
In the past, Chinese embassies and consulates have likewise attempted to downplay the existence of the service centers, claiming they exist only to help Chinese nationals renew documents such as driver’s licenses.
At around the same time as the New York City raid, one such station in Ireland was shut down by government officials, while authorities in the Netherlands launched a probe into similar operations.
When word of the service stations came out last November, Beijing pushed back on claims they were “police stations.” The Chinese government claimed the sites are run by volunteers. The statement came as FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed concern over the unauthorized stations which he said are tied to Chinese “influence operations.”
Wray told a Senate hearing last year that it was “outrageous” for the Chinese government to set up a police presence inside the United States. Wray said it “violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes.”
The United States is deeply concerned about the Chinese government setting up unauthorized "police stations" in U.S. cities to possibly pursue influence operations, FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers. https://t.co/ZHg4rfrRh2
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) November 18, 2022
Meanwhile, China’s embassy acknowledged the existence of the stations at that time, however emphasized they were not “police stations” or “police service centers.”
Republican lawmakers have demanded answers from the Biden administration, with Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) being among the most outspoken.
Human rights activists claim the sites are actually an influence campaign to pressure Chinese nationals to return to the Chinese mainland to face criminal charges, and they have tied the centers to China’s United Front Work Department, which is affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party and whose mission is to spread Chinese influence and propaganda overseas.
Another human rights activist, Mark Clifford, president of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation said such facilities need to be “stopped in their tracks.”
“By allowing the CCP to operate these types of institutions in their countries, international governments are complicit in Beijing’s actions,” Clifford said.
Safeguard Defenders says there are 102 overseas police stations located in 53 countries, with Italy having the highest number of such centers with eleven.
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