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US arrests 2 men allegedly linked to secret Chinese police in New York

Two individuals were arrested in New York City for allegedly running an undisclosed Chinese police department.
Posted at 2:35 PM, Apr 17, 2023

The Department of Justice announced 44 individuals have been charged with various crimes for allegedly being involved in a scheme by the Chinese government to harass Chinese nationals living in the U.S. 

Two of the individuals charged were arrested Monday for operating a Chinese police department in New York City. In one case, the defendants are accused of trying to suppress the free speech of Chinese Americans who spoke out against China.

This past fall, the European human rights organization Safeguard Defenders revealed the locations of more than 100 suspected Chinese police "service stations" around the world, including New York. The group says Chinese law enforcement quietly set up these outposts to track, harass and repatriate Chinese citizens. 

A look inside a suspected Chinese police outpost in the US

A look inside a suspected Chinese police outpost in the US

Scripps News investigates a suspected Chinese police facility in New York.


"We aren't going to tolerate CCP (Chinese Communist Party) repression – its efforts to threaten, harass, and intimidate people – here in the United States," said Acting Assistant Director Kurt Ronnow of the FBI Counterintelligence Division. "The FBI will continue to confront the Chinese government's efforts to violate our laws and repress the rights and freedoms of people in our country."

The Department of Justice says many of the defendants worked with Beijing's Ministry of Public Security, and were assigned to a task force called the "912 Special Project Working Group."

"The complaint alleges how members of the group created thousands of fake online personas on social media sites, including Twitter, to target Chinese dissidents through online harassment and threats," said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Pokorny for the Eastern District of New York.

Most of the defendants live in China or other parts of the world and have not been arrested, officials said. However, the two individuals who were arrested reportedly had homes in New York City.

U.S. President Joe Biden, right, stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China accuses US of trying to block its development

China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang sharpened the warning, saying Washington faces possible "conflict and confrontation" if it fails to change course.


In Manhattan's Chinatown, a single building is home to a Chinese outfit known as the America ChangLe Association. It promotes itself as a place that helps Chinese nationals in New York. But attorney Mike Gao says something more nefarious is at play.

"ChangLe Association's No. 1 job is to get personal information and then give [it to the] Chinese government," he said.

Gao once worked in China's Public Security Ministry, conducting criminal investigations, but after participating in protests against the Chinese government in Tiananmen Square in 1989, he fled to the U.S.

Now, he represents Chinese citizens in New York who say they have been persecuted by their government and that the ChangLe Association has become, in effect, a long arm of China.

It's not only ChangLe; Gao says China has run operations that have targeted his clients because of their wealth or history of dissent.

Client Maohua Yan knows what it's like to be threatened on U.S. soil: He showed Scripps News a photo of his daughter caged, which he says police in China texted him two years ago, after he refused to return. He was so frightened of what the authorities might do next, he stopped communicating with his family in China.

In a statement to Scripps News, the spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington denied the existence of police stations, saying, "they help with driver's license renewals ... The venues are provided by local overseas Chinese communities ... They are not police personnel from China. There is no need to make people nervous about this."

But China experts Scripps News talked to for this story say New York is likely a pilot project for the rest of America.