Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Chinese unofficial police report was “very disturbing”.
That was after the human rights NGO Safeguard Defenders released a report on Sept. 13 that identified dozens of overseas police “service stations” on five continents, including one in Glasgow, Scotland and two in London. clarified.
Responding to a question by the First Minister on Thursday, Sturgeon said the matter was being taken “very seriously” and had been discussed with Scottish Police Chief Constable Sir Iin Livingston.
“I agree that these reports are of great concern and want to make clear that we take them very seriously.
“Foreigners doing business in Scotland must comply with Scottish law.”
Mr Sturgeon said the government fully supports individual freedom of expression and that the issue with the Chinese police station in Scotland “needs to be fully and properly investigated”.
The prime minister said he was aware that “police are aware of these reports” after speaking with Livingston on Wednesday.
She stressed that the police remain independent of the government and that investigations are police matters, but reiterated that the issue needs to be treated “very seriously”.
In a statement emailed to The Epoch Times, Assistant Chief of Scottish Police Andy Freeburn said:
Loon Huong Canton Seafood Restaurant
Piloted by the Fuzhou Public Security Bureau (PSB), the overseas police service station program is called “110 Overseas” after the emergency number of the Chinese National Police.
According to the Chinese-language report, Chinese expatriates can make phone calls to access services such as document updates and to report fraud and other instances to PSB officials in China.
Sturgeon’s statement was after that The Times of London On Thursday, a spokesman for Safeguard Defenders reported that “one of the outposts claims to run from 417 Sauchiehall Street in central Glasgow,” home to the Loon Fung Cantonese seafood restaurant. .
“These stations are unregistered and therefore unknown to the host government. said a spokesperson.
The address, along with the phone number, is included in a list of 30 “first batch” station numbers and addresses published in January. Chinese news This was cited in last month’s Safeguard Defenders report.
When The Epoch Times called the restaurant on Sept. 13, a staff member confirmed that a “overseas 110 number” with a separate phone number shared the address. Another staff member said the address was used by the police program by “name” only.
The Times of London reported on Thursday that a spokesperson for the restaurant “strongly denied” any involvement, saying there was “no secret police here.”
according to Telegraphone of the listed addresses in London belonged to a real estate company, and another hosted a food delivery office.
“The wider problem at stake”
Ireland on Wednesday became the first country to confirm that it has ordered the closure of China’s overseas police stations.
Ireland’s Department for Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday that it had notified the Chinese embassy to close an unofficial station at a Chinese supermarket in Dublin. ”
However, it appears that Chinese expats can still access the service online.
Laura Haas, campaign director for Safeguard Defenders, told The Epoch Times on Thursday that there is “a bigger problem with ongoing cross-border suppression and this kind of illegal cross-border policing.” .
“As long as the people who ran the station are still there, they are in jeopardy unless there is an investigation into how these operations are being carried out and who may be involved. Unless there are adequate protection mechanisms for communities, the problem will continue to exist,” Haas said.
She praised the Irish government for taking a “big first step” and called for looking into “bigger issues”.