Secret Chinese "police station" in NYC leads to two arrests
New York, New York - Two people were arrested in New York for allegedly operating a Chinese "secret police station" in the city, according to law enforcement officials.
The two suspects, aged 59 and 61, are accused of opening and operating the office in lower Manhattan on behalf of China's Ministry of Public Security.
Both were arrested at their New York homes, the Justice Department said, without revealing their nationalities.
They are charged with conspiring to act as agents of the Chinese government and obstructing justice by destroying evidence.
"The police station – which closed in the fall of 2022 after those operating it became aware of the FBI’s investigation – occupied a floor in an office building in Manhattan’s Chinatown," the statement said.
The Justice Department alleged that the office was used to monitor and intimidate dissidents and those critical of the government in Beijing.
Secret police stations reportedly present in over 50 countries
"It is simply outrageous that China’s Ministry of Public Security thinks it can get away with establishing a secret, illegal police station on US soil to aid its efforts to export repression and subvert our rule of law," said Acting Assistant Director Kurt Ronnow of the FBI Counterintelligence Division.
"This case serves as a powerful reminder that the People’s Republic of China will stop at nothing to bend people to their will and silence messages they don’t want anyone to hear."
China operates more than a hundred offices around the world that are used as illegal "police stations," the non-profit human rights organization Safeguard Defenders says. They had discovered 102 such facilities in 53 countries, the group said in December.
Beijing has repeatedly denied such reports.
Cover photo: REUTERS