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Two Chinese Nationals Arrested For Running Chinese ‘Police Station’ In NYC

(Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

On Monday, two New York City residents were arrested for allegedly opening and operating an illegal overseas police station for a provincial branch of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Harry Lu Jianwang, 61, of the Bronx, and Chen Jinping, 59, of Manhattan, were arrested on Monday morning at their homes in New York City. They were charged with acting as agents of the Chinese government and obstructing justice by destroying evidence of their communications with an MPS official.

“The defendants worked together to establish the first overseas police station in the United States on behalf of the Fuzhou branch of the MPS,” a press release from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said. “The police station – which closed in the fall of 2022 after those operating it became aware of the FBI’s investigation – occupied a floor in an office building in Manhattan’s Chinatown. While acting under the direction and control of an MPS Official, Lu and Chen helped open and operate the clandestine police station. None of the participants in the scheme informed the U.S. government that they were helping the PRC government surreptitiously open and operate an illegal MPS police station on U.S. soil.”

“In October 2022, the FBI conducted a judicially authorized search of the illegal police station,” the press release added. “In connection with the search, FBI agents interviewed both Lu and Chen and seized their phones. In reviewing the contents of these phones, FBI agents observed that communications between Lu and Chen, on the one hand, and the MPS Official, on the other, appeared to have been deleted. In subsequent consensual interviews, Lu and Chen admitted to the FBI that they had deleted their communications with the MPS Official after learning about the ongoing FBI investigation, thus preventing the FBI from learning the full extent of the MPS’s directions for the overseas police station.”

If convicted of conspiring to act as agents of the Chinese government, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison. If convicted of obstruction of justice, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

“The PRC, through its repressive security apparatus, established a secret physical presence in New York City to monitor and intimidate dissidents and those critical of its government,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The PRC’s actions go far beyond the bounds of acceptable nation-state conduct. We will resolutely defend the freedoms of all those living in our country from the threat of authoritarian repression.”

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