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Mexico: 13 law enforcement officers gunned down in ambush

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Gunmen apparently from a drug gang ambushed a police convoy Thursday in central Mexico, killing 13 police officers and prosecutors in a hail of gunfire, authorities said, the Associated Press reported.

The slaying of the 13 law enforcement officers in the State of Mexico was the country’s single largest massacre of law enforcement since October 2019, when cartel gunmen ambushed and murdered 14 state police officers in the neighboring state of Michoacan, according to the AP.

Eight state police officers and five prosecution investigators died in the ambush, authorities said, per the AP.

The Thursday ambush prompted a massive search for the perpetrators in a rural, gang-plagued area southwest of Mexico City, which is surrounded on three sides by Mexico State, according to the AP. The deceased law enforcement officers worked for the state.

Rodrigo Martínez Celis Wogau, the head of the Mexico State Public Safety Department, said soldiers, marines, and National Guard troops were searching the area by land and from the air looking for the killers.

“The convoy was carrying out patrols in the region, precisely to fight the criminal groups that operate in the area,” Martínez Celis said, per the AP. “This aggression is an attack on the Mexican government.”

“We will respond with all force,” he added.

The convoy on Thursday was patrolling in Coatepec Harinas, about 40 miles southwest of Mexico City, to “combat criminal groups who operate in that zone,” Martínez added in a video statement posted on Twitter, per The New York Times.

Martínez, per The Times, blamed “organized crime.”

There was no immediate indication as to what gang or cartel the gunmen might have been part of, according to the AP. A number of them operate in the area around Coatepec Harinas, where the ambush happened.

The town is near a hot springs resort called as Ixtapan de la Sal. However, it is also relatively close to cities such as Taxco, where authorities have reported activities by the Guerreros Unidos gang apparently allied with the Jalisco cartel and by the Arcelia gang, dominated by the Familia Michoacán crime organization, according to the AP.

Thursday’s slayings in central Mexico added to the 86 police officers who had been killed already this year, according to Causa en Común, a Mexican anti-corruption group that focuses on public security, as The Times noted.

Last year was the deadliest year for Mexican police since the group began tracking deaths in 2018, with at least 524 officers killed.

Thursday’s attack, the AP wrote, appears to present a challenge for President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has pursued a strategy of not directly confronting drug cartels in an effort to avoid violence.

RELATED: Report: Biden quietly telling Mexico to curb surge of migrants

On Friday, López Obrador promised to bring the murderers to justice, according to Reuters.

“We are filled with sorrow about what happened in the State of Mexico,” he said at a regular news conference.

There would not be “impunity” for anyone, he added.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world

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China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.

Key findings of the report are below.

“Persuaded to return”

According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.

Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.

The Nine Forbidden Countries

China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.

Conclusion

According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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