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Canada federal police probing new rogue Chinese police stations

Canada lays groundwork for foreign agent registry

Canadian federal police said Thursday they are investigating new rogue Chinese police stations in the Montreal area said to have been set up to carry out illegal policing operations on foreign soil and harass Chinese ex-pats.

This follows the dismantling of several other stations in Canada that were believed to have been part of a network of more than 50 worldwide — which Beijing has denied.

In an email to AFP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Charles Poirier said its national security unit “is conducting investigations targeting alleged Chinese police stations in Quebec.”

He identified the two stations as being located in Montreal and its suburb of Brossard.

“The RCMP acknowledges that Chinese Canadians are victims of alleged activities carried out by these centers,” Poirier added.

“These activities and any other form of intimidation, harassment or harmful targeting of diaspora communities or individuals in Canada will not be tolerated.”

Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented: “We’ve been aware of Chinese police stations across the country for many months.”

“It is an issue that is of great concern to us,” he said.

According to Spain-based human rights group Safeguard Defenders, which first revealed the existence of such outposts around the world last year, Chinese agents, working out of the stations, have pressured Chinese nationals to return to China to face criminal charges.

An example of this was highlighted in US court documents in a case of foreign interference against seven Chinese nationals, which described a Canadian having been pressed in 2018 to return to China to face embezzlement charges.

Beijing has denied accusations it was conducting policing operations on foreign soil, and said previously identified Canadian locations — in a residential home, a single-story commercial building and a convenience store in the Toronto area — were set up simply to offer services, such as driver’s license renewals, to Chinese nationals abroad.

Those had been investigated by the RCMP last October, and China’s ambassador in Ottawa was summoned in December in a diplomatic protest.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French state-owned international news agency based in Paris. It is the world's oldest news agency, having been founded in 1835 as Havas.

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