News World

UK alarm over Chinese businessman and ‘secret police station’

Telegraph boss quits as UK lawmakers probe UAE-backed takeover
Source: Pixabay

The UK government said Wednesday it took reports of secret Chinese police stations overseas “extremely seriously”, after newspaper claims about a London-based businessman with links to Conservative politicians.

The Times said that Chinese businessman Lin Ruiyou operated a food delivery business in the London suburb of Croydon that doubled as one undeclared Chinese police station.

It said Lin had also been active in local politics for the ruling Conservatives, and reprinted on Wednesday photographs of him meeting former prime ministers Boris Johnson and Theresa May.

The Times said Lin had been active in a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ‘United Front’ organisation, but that he denied working surreptitiously for provincial police to monitor other Chinese nationals in London.

“Reports of alleged, undeclared ‘police stations’ operating in the UK are of course very concerning and are taken extremely seriously,” a UK government spokesperson told AFP.

“Attempts by foreign governments to coerce, intimidate, harass or harm their critics overseas, undermining democracy and the rule of law, are unacceptable.

“We are committed to tackling these challenges wherever they originate.”

The UK interior ministry and London’s Metropolitan police force began investigations after the human rights group Safeguard Defenders last year first detailed the existence of the overseas Chinese stations.

The Madrid-based group’s campaign director, Laura Harth, told AFP that Lin had “clear and demonstrable ties to the CCP apparatus”.

“It is imperative democratic authorities, including in the UK, break these investigations wide open and urgently start looking into the gamut of activities ‘United Front’ organisations in their country are involved in,” she said.

On Monday, US authorities arrested two men for allegedly setting up one such outpost in New York and charged dozens of Chinese security officials over a campaign to monitor and harass US-based dissidents.

The arrests of Harry Lu Jianwang, 61, and Chen Jinping, 59, were the first anywhere over the alleged campaign by China to establish secret police stations around the world, US prosecutors said.

China denies any such campaign, and accused the US government of “slandering, smearing (and) engaging in political manipulation” following the New York arrests.


About the author


Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

Daily Newsletter