2 Arrested Over China's 'Secret Police Station' in NYC

Prosecutors say men tracked, harassed dissidents
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2023 4:55 PM CDT
2 Arrested Over China Police 'Outpost' in NYC
A six-story glass-facade building, second from left, is believed to be the site of a foreign police outpost for China in New York's Chinatown, shown Monday.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Two New York City residents have been arrested on suspicion of operating what the Department of Justice describes as "an illegal overseas police station" on behalf of Chinese authorities. The outpost in Manhattan's Chinatown, which was searched by FBI agents last fall, was one of around 100 such operations around the world, the New York Times reports. Federal prosecutors say a branch of China’s Ministry of Public Security established the "secret physical presence" as part of an effort to "monitor and intimidate" Chinese dissidents and others critical of China's government. The suspects allegedly used social media to harass dissidents and helped Chinese authorities locate a pro-democracy activist living in California.

"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," acting Assistant Director Kurt Ronnow of the FBI Counterintelligence Division said in a statement. The two men arrested Monday, 61-year-old Lu Jianwang and Chen Jinping, 59, have been charged with conspiring to act as agents of the Chinese government and obstructing justice by destroying evidence of communication with Chinese officials.

"New York City is home to New York’s finest: the NYPD," US Attorney Breon Peace said at a news conference announcing the arrests, per the AP. "We don’t need or want a secret police station in our great city." The Justice Department also announced in a news release Monday that 44 people, including 40 police officers in China, had been charged in connection with efforts to "harass Chinese nationals residing in the New York metropolitan area and elsewhere in the United States." The department said all 44 suspects are believed to be in China or elsewhere in Asia and are still at large. (More China stories.)

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