(LONDON) The British government said on Wednesday it was taking the possible existence of Chinese police stations operating on its territory “extremely seriously” after press reports about the activities of a Chinese businessman in London.

Britain’s The Times newspaper published an article on Tuesday about Lin Ruiyou, a Chinese businessman running a food delivery business in the borough of Croydon, south London, which is also believed to operate as an undeclared Chinese police station .

The newspaper details his ties to Britain’s ruling Conservative Party and shows photos of Mr Lin posing with former Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Theresa May. The Times also claims that the Chinese businessman is close to the Chinese Communist Party. Mr. Lin denies working for China.

The Home Office said reports of “so-called undeclared ‘police stations’ operating in the Kingdom are obviously very worrying and are taken very seriously”.

These units would allow Chinese nationals to perform certain administrative tasks, but would also be used to track down opponents.

“No attempt to coerce, intimidate or illegally repatriate individuals will not be tolerated,” Chris Philip, Home Secretary, told the parliamentarians.

According to him, China and other governments are trying to “silence their critics abroad, undermine democracy and the rule of law, and advance their own geopolitical interests.”

The UK Home Office and London police have launched initial investigations into the matter after human rights group Safeguard Defenders detailed the existence of such police stations last year.

The Madrid-based group’s campaign manager, Laura Harth, claimed Mr Lin had “clear and demonstrable ties to the Chinese Communist Party apparatus”, calling for investigations.

Reacting to the Times article, the Chinese Embassy in London claimed to have already said “repeatedly that there are no so-called police stations overseas” and criticized media reporting ” false accusations”.

“China adheres to the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, strictly observes international laws and respects the sovereignty of all countries,” she said.

The revelations in the British press come as US authorities announced on Monday the arrest of two men in connection with a federal police investigation into an underground Chinese “police station” in New York.

Several dozen people have also been charged, including Chinese government officials, with cyberbullying.

The Chinese government on Tuesday called the US judicial operation “political manipulation”.