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China has been accused of setting up a series of 'illegal police stations', in the UK, across the continent and around the world.
A report released last month by Spanish based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Safeguarders Defenders, claims the Chinese government has established "overseas Chinese police 'service stations'" in five continents.
The report specified, meanwhile, that of three unauthorised stations in the UK, two were in London and another in Glasgow. In total 54 centres were identified – spread over 24 countries.
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The purpose of such facilities is believed to include administering the renewal of driving licences for Chinese citizens residing in European countries – tasks that would normally be carried out by embassies or consulates.
Safeguarders Defenders claims the stations have been set up by public security bodies from two Chinese provinces – namely the Fuzhou and Qingtian police agencies, with the main intention of providing leverage to Chinese citizens into returning to their native country.
Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for Chinese Foreign Affairs, denied such claims stating the facilities were simply "service stations" for ex-pats.
He told the BBC last week: "Relevant local governments have opened online service platforms.
"Such services are mainly targeted at physical examinations and changing drivers' licences."
He continued by explaining the facilities had been established in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and were designed to assist Chinese nationals in travelling home.
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