Police ask public for tips amid probe into Chinese agents

China allegedly operated at least seven ‘overseas police service centres’ in Canada, including in Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area and Montréal. Their aim is to monitor the Chinese diaspora and silence critics.

Police ask public for tips amid probe into Chinese agents
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The RCMP are calling on the public to provide tips as their probe into “overseas police service centres” continues. China allegedly operated at least seven “overseas police service centres” in Canada, including in Vancouver, the Greater Toronto Area and Montréal. 

According to a 2022 document by Safeguard Defenders, more than 50 secret Chinese police stations exist worldwide, with two “secret police stations” possibly located in Montreal. However, a parliamentary report titled Overseas Police Service Stations doubled that number to nearly 100 alleged stations worldwide.

The Special Committee on Canada-China Relations confirmed last November 28 the RCMP probe remains ongoing. No arrests were made at the time.

The Mounties are targeting suspected criminals victimizing Québec residents of Chinese ancestry, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

“Have you been the victim of threats, harassment or intimidation by Chinese government officials?” the RCMP asked in a Mandarin-language public notice. “Let’s fight interference together. Report it anonymously.”

Police in a separate Twitter post said a probe is ongoing under the Criminal Code. “We are actively investigating allegations of criminal activity related to Chinese foreign interference in Québec,” wrote the federal police service. 

“Report any form of threats, harassment or intimidation anonymously from the Chinese Communist Party.”

Monday’s appeal follows April 4 testimony at the Commission on Foreign Interference in which police confirmed their investigation into interference in the 2021 election campaign. “We received information that prompted us to open an investigation,” testified Commissioner Michael Duheme.

“We find, it is probably noteworthy, as the volume of tips increases the threat percentages significantly decline,” added then-Commissioner Brenda Lucki. “Some of it is just information that people might feel. They might feel, for example, a threat and if it doesn’t meet the threshold of a criminal offence, then we normally can’t deal with it.”

Receiving an average 120 tips a day, the RCMP expanded their probe beyond the Greater Toronto Area. They investigated the Centre Sino-Québec and the Service à la Famille Chinoise du Grand Montréal (SFCGM).

The Centre Sino-Québec and SFCGM filed a defamation lawsuit in Superior Court last year, seeking more than $4.9 million in damages. Commissioner Duheme earlier said his agency acted on “credible” information.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Kim Chamberland said last May their “national response disrupted illegal activity” but did not explain. 

Action Free Hong Kong Montreal spokesperson Benjamin Fung said critics of China know the regime had an “underground” influence network in Canada.

“If this is a police station from China, they can use the funds to expand their network and their connections. This is also one way to monitor the many international Chinese students here,” he told the Montreal Gazette.

A 2023 report tabled by the Commons Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, allege these facilities collect intelligence, harass, and intimidate China’s critics within diaspora communities.

“The Chinese Communist Party portrays the overseas police service stations as facilities providing administrative and consular services,” said the report, Chinese Communist Party’s Overseas Police Service Stations.

A Public Safety memo confirmed Chinese proxies harassed university students “to stifle criticism, infiltrate foreign political parties, diaspora communities, universities and multinational corporations.” The Chinese embassy has repeatedly denied those claims.

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