South Korean authorities have begun investigating Chinese “police stations” that have been set up unofficially across the country. According to The Straits Times, investigations in Seoul in 2023 uncovered the alleged existence of such entities.
National Intelligence and police officials are investigating suspicious activity by Chinese “police bureaus” that operate covertly for the Chinese government. These entities operate in Seoul as well as other regions including Jeju Island.
In May, intelligence agencies tentatively determined that a Chinese restaurant in the Songpa district of central Seoul was serving as a base for Beijing police to operate covertly.
Choe Jae-hyeong, a representative of the People’s Power Party, found on Thursday that a Confucius Institute run by the Chinese government allegedly ran propaganda on behalf of Beijing and held events at South Korean universities against student activism in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. The Straits Times.
China has allegedly set up more than 100 police stations in at least 53 countries to expand its influence and forcibly repatriate Chinese citizens, according to Spain-based NGO Safeguard Defenders. However, Chinese officials often deny that such police stations exist in the country.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin reiterated at a May 15 press conference that “there is no so-called overseas police station” and that such allegations are “false information…to smear China,” according to The Straits Times.
Wang further agreed that there are agencies that are helping Chinese nationals from other countries return home during the Covid-19 pandemic, but they are “not so-called police stations or police service centers”.