China has closed two of its illegal police stations that were secretly operating in Prague. The Chinese ambassador assured Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský (Pirates) about this. According to the Chinese embassy, the center was officially supposed to serve only to facilitate administrative operations for Chinese people abroad. But the actual activity remains shrouded in mystery. In addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, domestic counterintelligence and the police also dealt with their activities.
In September, a report by an NGO drew attention to the phenomenon of detached workplaces of Chinese police around the world Protective defenderswhich he brought first in October Echo24 newspaper. In total, according to the report, there should be at least 54 similar offices around the world, in Europe, in addition to Prague, also in London, Amsterdam or Budapest.
According to the report, they are to be used, among other things, to control Chinese citizens. Over the past year, citizens have been involved in operations to convince 230,000 Chinese to return to their homeland. However, due to the involvement of the Security Information Service (BIS) in the investigation, it can be assumed that their employees may have also participated in intelligence activities.
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs replied at the time that it was evaluating the information. “At this moment, we are not aware of any violation of Czech laws or cases written in the report. We plan to discuss the matter with the Chinese side,” she shared without further details, the spokesperson of the ministry Lenka To the editors in mid-October.
After more than a month, however, the matter moved when Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský at the beginning of December pro Diary of N said that China had already closed these centers. “Czech diplomacy raised the topic of the ‘police station’ with the Chinese side repeatedly. This week I also discussed this with the Chinese ambassador, who confirmed to me that they have been closed in the Czech Republic,” said Foreign Minister Lipavský. The server drew attention to one of the centers already in October. The secret office was supposed to be located in the premises of an Asian restaurant on Prague’s Charles Square.
Spies or volunteers?
The editors have also previously approached the Chinese embassy in Prague with a request for a statement. According to him, “Service stations”, as he calls the two Prague centers, serve to facilitate administrative tasks for Chinese citizens abroad. They said it was not Chinese police officers, but volunteers. We are the whole expression brought here.
The activities of Chinese police authorities on Czech territory were dealt with not only by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but also by BIS. According to information from the Echo24 newspaper, police officers from the National Organized Crime Agency (NCOZ) came across them by chance during another investigation. Director of NCOZ Jiří Mazánek in an interview a few days ago he did not want to comment on the conclusions of the investigation. “We cooperate with all the intelligence services on a number of things. I would leave the matter you are asking about to the Foreign Ministry’s comment,” said Mazánek.
The Dutch government was also investigating whether two illegal police stations were operating in the country on behalf of the Chinese government. According to Dutch media, the centers claim to offer diplomatic assistance to Chinese citizens but are not registered with the Dutch government.