Dutch ministry to investigate reports of China operating two illegal ‘police stations’ in country

Stations are believed to be part of a worldwide network of at least 46, in cities from Dublin to Barcelona, New York and Ontario

The Dutch ministry for foreign affairs has said it will investigate reports that China has been operating two illegal “police stations” in the Netherlands — believed to be part of a worldwide network of at least 46 in cities from Dublin to Barcelona, New York and Ontario.

The ministry in The Hague said it had not been officially notified by Beijing about the two stations, one in Amsterdam and the other in Rotterdam, which it’s alleged are used to monitor and possibly intimidate Chinese nationals in the Netherlands.

It said that if the descriptions of the activities being carried out at the two stations were correct, then they were undoubtedly “illegal”.

“We are going to look into exactly what they are doing and will take appropriate action”, a ministry spokesperson said.


According to a joint investigation by broadcaster, RTL, and investigative website, Follow the Money, the Amsterdam station was established in June 2018 by police from Lishui, in Zhejiang province. The Rotterdam station was set up this year by police from Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province.

Both Lishui and Fuzhou are located in eastern China where many Dutch-born Chinese have family roots, some dating from global trading by the Dutch East India company in the seventeenth century.

Service bureau

According to the investigation, the Amsterdam station is run by two men who emigrated to the Netherlands after a career in the Chinese police, while the Rotterdam station is run by a former member of the Chinese armed forces.

In response to the investigation, the Chinese embassy said it was not aware of either station. Lishui police headquarters in China denied that it had any stations abroad. Asked about the Amsterdam premises, it replied: “It’s just a service bureau for Chinese abroad.”

However, the investigation says the offices are used as “overseas service stations” where Chinese nationals can renew their driving licences or report changes in their civil status — but they also “gather intelligence”, particularly by identifying nationals who criticise the Beijing government.

Chinese dissident, Wang Jingyu, who was granted asylum in the Netherlands earlier this year, says he was called by someone claiming to be from the Chinese police station in Rotterdam. “He asked me to go back to China to solve my problems. He also told me to think about my parents.”

He subsequently received intimidating messages using swear words, he said.

The Chinese overseas network was first identified by a Spanish civil rights group, Safeguard Defenders, who said there were 54 “overseas police service centres” across the five continents.

The Irish Government told The Irish Times this month that it would “seek answers” from the Chinese embassy about an office on Capel Street in Dublin.

Peter Cluskey

Peter Cluskey

Peter Cluskey is a journalist and broadcaster based in The Hague, where he covers Dutch news and politics plus the work of organisations such as the International Criminal Court