FBI agents raided a Manhattan building that was allegedly being used as a secret Chinese police station and was staffed with ‘illegal cops’ who solved crimes.
The raid occurred at the headquarters of the American Changle Association, a non-profit that helps Chinese nationals who live in New York. The group’s former chairman was Lu Jianshun, who in 2021 donated $4,000 to Eric Adams’ mayoral campaign, reports The New York Times.
The police station was located on the third floor of the organization’s building. The police unit is linked to a unit code named 110 Overseas, based in China’s Fujian province.
The US Attorney’s Office, who participated in the raid with the FBI, told DailyMail.com, ‘No comment,’ when asked to authenticate the Times story.
The public was alerted to the existence of the secret Chinese police stations thanks to reporting from the Europe-based human rights organization Safeguard Defenders which published a research study in September detailing more than 100 secret Chinese law enforcement installations worldwide.
The Fall 2022 raid is the first known raid by law enforcement on a secret police station in the US. According to the Safeguard Defenders, there are two secret Chinese police stations in New York, one in Los Angeles and one in an undisclosed location.
The Times report notes that it is not clear if Lu Jianshun, who also goes by Jimmy Lu, is a target for the Feds.
The article did not mention any arrests in the wake of the raid but said that materials were seized from the offices.
In October 2022, Mayor Eric Adams appeared at a gala held by the American Changle Association, reports the New York Post. Just a few months earlier, the group’s tax-exempt status was pulled by the IRS.
The Times article adds that reports in China have described the operations as ‘overseas police service centers’ which aid in solving crimes in their designated countries without collaborating with local officials.
In a statement on the Times story, the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC said: ‘They are not police personnel from China. There is no need to make people nervous about this.’
In response to previous reports about secret police stations, Chinese embassies and consulates have downplayed their existence and said that the offices merely help citizens to renew documents such as driver’s licenses.
Around the same time as the raid, a secret Chinese police station in Ireland was ordered to shut by government officials while authorities in the Netherlands began to probe similar operations.
In November, Beijing pushed back on claims it was operating ‘police stations’ on U.S. soil, calling the sites volunteer-run, after the FBI director said the same month he was ‘very concerned’ about unauthorized stations that have been linked to Beijing’s influence operations.
FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate hearing in 2022 that it was ‘outrageous’ that the Chinese government would attempt to set up a police presence in the United States, saying it ‘violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes.’
At the time, China’s Embassy in Washington acknowledged the existence of volunteer-run sites in the United States, but said they were not ‘police stations’ or ‘police service centers.’
Republicans in the U.S. Congress, including Representative Jim Banks, have requested answers from the Biden administration about the operations of the sites.
Rights activists say the sites are an extension of Beijing’s efforts to pressure some Chinese nationals or their relatives abroad to return to China to face criminal charges, and have tied them to activities of China’s United Front Work Department, a Chinese Communist Party body charged with spreading its influence and propaganda overseas.
Mark Clifford, president of the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation, said such stations needed 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.
According to Safeguard Defenders, there are 102 overseas police stations in 53 countries, including 11 in Italy, the highest number of any foreign nation.
Chinese authorities have characterized the facilities as volunteer-run centers which help Chinese citizens renew documents and offer other services that were disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.