NGO identifies another 48 Chinese “illegal police stations” in Europe. Most are in Italy – Observer

The Spanish non-governmental organization Safeguard Defenders, responsible for releasing the report in September that revealed the existence of “police service centers” maintained by Beijing in several countries, announced that it had identified another 48 Chinese “illegal police stations” in Europe.

In a report published this Monday, the Madrid-based organization stated that, of the 48 centers recently identified, 11 are in Italian territory, in the cities of Rome, Milan, Bolzano, Venice, Florence, Sicily and Prato, the latter a locality close to Florence which is home to the largest Chinese community in Italy.

Police stations were also identified in Croatia, Serbia and Romania, says The Guardian.

In September, Safeguard Defenders accused China of maintaining half a hundred “police service centers” in several countries, which will have persuaded 230,000 alleged fugitives to return to China between April 2021 and July 2022. Three of these “illegal police stations” would work in Portugal.

Public Ministry investigates case of “Chinese police stations” in Portugal

At the end of October, the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) reported that investigations by the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DCIAP) into the functioning of Beijing police stations in the country were ongoing. The Netherlands also announced the opening of an investigation into the existence of two centers in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

At a press conference, the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Wang Wenbin, explained that the structures “are, in fact, service centers for Chinese abroad”, which serve to support “a large number of citizens” who are unable to return to China due to the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, renewing Chinese driving licenses, Wang said.

The spokesperson added that the Chinese authorities are “fully committed to combating transnational crimes in accordance with the law, strictly observing international law and fully respecting the judicial sovereignty of other countries.”

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