Alarming footage shows Chinese officers escorting dozens of hooded suspects onto plane in Fiji

  • 25/03/2024

Chinese police officers have been seen arresting and escorting hooded suspects onto private planes in Fiji.

The alarming footage, filmed by a Chinese security agency and shared by 60 Minutes, exposes China's push for power in the Pacific.

It shows dozens of Chinese police officers smashing down doors and arresting about 80 alleged cyber scammers in Fiji. 

The alleged offenders are then seen being hooded and handcuffed, before they're flown to China.

While the footage was filmed in 2017, Australian National University China specialist Graeme Smith told 60 Minutes these exercises – which show officers "behaving as though they are in China" - were happening every week.

"It's a very disturbing path because these sorts of operations [involving Chinese authorities] are happening all over the world," he said.

"Our team estimated this is happening twice a week, every week, all over the globe, but the Pacific example is a pretty concerning one."

Fijian police watched on as the exercise took place as the arrests are part of a controversial policing deal between Suva and Beijing.

"The Fijian police are there, but only really in the background, and they are, to all intents and purposes, treating Fijian soil as Chinese soil," Smith said.

"It is absolutely a ceding of sovereignty and… a very bad precedent that was set."

Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka told 60 Minutes the South Pacific could be destabilised by China's "unwarranted influence".

"I understand Australia and America, and I do not fully understand China's agenda," he said.

In November, the incoming National-led Government's then-foreign affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee said he didn't have any "deep and immediate" concerns about China becoming more assertive in the Pacific. 

Foreign Minister Winston Peters recently hosted China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi in New Zealand and has travelled to India.

Speaking to RNZ about the talks with both nations, Peters said National Security Adviser Ajit Doval had "matters to share of concern" including around New Zealand's defence force and contribution to defence in the Asia Pacific.