S. Korea “monitoring developments” after report of secret Chinese police station in Seoul

Posted on : 2022-12-26 17:48 KST Modified on : 2022-12-26 17:48 KST
The Chinese Embassy in South Korea has denied that any such station exists
The Chinese Embassy in South Korea (Yonhap)
The Chinese Embassy in South Korea (Yonhap)

Amid allegations that South Korea is one of the countries in which China runs secret police stations to suppress dissidents operating overseas, the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it’s “monitoring related developments and also communicating as necessary with the relevant domestic bodies.”

“The firm position of the Korean government is that domestic activities by foreign organizations must comply with the relevant domestic and international norms,” the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

The Foreign Ministry’s statement appears to go one step beyond the statement that “confirming facts is our priority,” which it made shortly after the allegations were raised on Thursday.

Safeguard Defenders, a Spain-based international human rights advocacy group, says that China is operating at least 102 secret police stations in 53 countries, including Korea. The group claims that these secret police stations serve to collect information and to pressure dissidents who have fled China to return home.

In a related story, Korea’s counterespionage authorities are reportedly investigating the operations of a restaurant in the Gangnam area of Seoul that may be the base of China’s secret police organization in the country.

The restaurant in question had earlier announced on its website that it would be closing for renovations on Jan. 1-31. But in the end, the restaurant will reportedly be shutting down for good next month.

The Chinese Embassy in South Korea has denied the allegations that it is running secret police stations in the country.

“We have taken note of reports in certain media that quote ‘government sources’ as saying that China has set up ‘overseas police stations’ in Seoul and that a restaurant in Gangnam may be the hub, and we express regret about those reports. The reports in question are completely baseless, and no such ‘overseas police stations’ exist,” the embassy said in a statement signed by a spokesperson on Friday.

By Shin Hyeong-cheol, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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