News U.S.

Two New York residents arrested on charges of operating Chinese police station in Manhattan

New York residents arrested chinese police stations Manhattan
Source: Video Screenshot

Two New York residents have been arrested on federal charges for allegedly conspiring to act as agents of the People’s Republic of China in connection with a Chinese police station operated in Chinatown of Manhattan, reported the New York Times.

F.B.I. arrests two men for running a secret Chinese police station in New York’s Manhattan

Chinese nationals, Lu Jianwang, 61, and Chen Jinping, 59, were arrested in Manhattan on Monday on federal charges for conspiring to act as agents of China.

The charges are related to a police outpost operated by China in Manhattan’s Chinatown, which was discovered during an investigation by the F.B.I. and the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

According to New York Times’ sources, the outpost conducted police operations without jurisdiction or diplomatic approval and was part of over 100 Chinese operations around the world that have alarmed diplomats and intelligence officials.

In the autumn of last year, the third-floor offices of the outpost, situated in a non-descript building at 107 East Broadway, were searched by counterintelligence agents of the FBI, signifying a rise in the international conflict over China’s attempts to monitor its diaspora beyond its jurisdiction.

Similar operations in other countries, such as Ireland, Canada, and the Netherlands, have been demanded to be shut down by officials. This FBI raid was the first known instance of law enforcement confiscating materials from any of the outposts.

More details on the arrested men and Chinese Embassy downplaying the significance of the outposts

It is not clear if either of the men have legal representation at the moment. Lu Jianwang, who is also known as Harry Lu, resides in the Bronx and is a naturalized citizen of the United States, according to the NY Times. Chen Jinping, on the other hand, lives in Manhattan, but his citizenship status has yet to be confirmed.

According to IRS documents filed in 2018, Lu was identified as the president of a non-profit organization named America ChangLe Association NY, which operated out of the same building where the illegal police outpost was located. However, the relationship between Chen and the group is currently unknown, NY Times reported.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington attempted to downplay the significance of the outposts when news of the search was first reported in January, according to the NY Times. The embassy claimed that they were run by volunteers who assisted Chinese nationals with routine tasks such as renewing their driver’s licenses in their home country.

Justice Department announces arrests and charges in ‘significant national security matter’

Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said, “China’s Ministry of Public Security has repeatedly and flagrantly violated our nation’s sovereignty, including by opening and operating a police station in the middle of New York City.”

“Two miles from our office just across the Brooklyn Bridge, this nondescript office building in the heart of bustling Chinatown in Lower Manhattan, has a dark secret. Until several months ago, an entire floor of this building hosted an undeclared police station of the Chinese National Police,” Peace added.

“Now, just imagine the NYPD opening an undeclared secret police station in Beijing. It would be unthinkable,” he said.

Peace says the station was ‘helping Chinese citizens renew their Chinese driver’s licenses’

“Here’s what we know happened inside the secret police station in Lower Manhattan. At the very least, the station was providing some government services, like helping Chinese citizens renew their Chinese driver’s licenses,” the US attorney continued.

“But to do even that, the law requires that individuals like the defendants who act as agents of a foreign government give prior notice to the attorney general before setting up shop in New York City. That didn’t happen.”

“More troubling, though, is the fact that the secret police station appears to have had a more sinister use on at least one occasion,” Peace added.

“An official with the Chinese National Police directed one of the defendants — a U.S. citizen who worked at the secret police station — to help locate a pro-democracy activist of Chinese descent living in California. In other words, the Chinese national police appear to have been using the station to track a U.S. resident on U.S. soil.”

“The two defendants whose arrests we’re announcing today destroyed evidence of their communications with the Chinese national police when they learned of the FBI’s investigation,” he added. “These two defendants knew they had something to hide and they obstructed justice in an attempt to prevent the FBI from learning the full extent of what they were up to.”

The Justice Department referred to the recent announcement as a matter of great significance with regards to national security matters. Moreover, the accused are set to appear before a magistrate judge in court on Monday afternoon, according to Fox News.

Tags

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.







Daily Newsletter