Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has conceded that there could be more Chinese police stations operating in Canada, despite claiming last month that they had all been shut down by the RCMP.

Mendicino made the admission on CTV’s Question Period on Sunday, when he was asked about the reports that the stations in question continue to exist. 

“I am confident that the RCMP have taken concrete action to disrupt any foreign interference in relationship to those so-called police stations, and that if new police stations are popping up and so on, that they will continue to take decisive action going forward,” said Mendicino. 

“Our expectation is that if those activities manifest, if there is foreign interference, that yes, the RCMP will take decisive action as they have in the past.”

The allegations of the Chinese police stations first surfaced earlier this year, based on a report by a Spanish human rights organization called Safeguard Defenders. 

The report claimed that the Chinese government had set up more than 100 police stations in over 50 countries as part of a global campaign to “persuade” people to return to China to face charges.

In March the RCMP announced it was investigating four groups across the country for allegedly being used by the Chinese government to harass or coerce people identified as fugitives or dissidents.

The Chinese government has since denied the allegations and said that the police stations were legitimate service centres for overseas Chinese citizens.

Some of the groups under investigation have confirmed that they are providing legal assistance or consular services to their members.

Two of the groups in Montreal — Service a la Famille Chinoise du Grand Montreal and Centre Sino-Quebec de la Rive-Sud — recently told the Canadian Press that they had not received any closure requests from the RCMP and that their activities were proceeding normally.

The Conservatives have accused the Liberal government of dragging its feet when it comes to dealing with the issue, especially by not moving more quickly to establish a foreign agent registry.

Last week, Conservative deputy leader Melissa Lantsman accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of “stalling” on the issue. 

“He’s stalling on a foreign agent registry, he won’t shut down illegal police stations, and he doesn’t have the courage to call a national public inquiry,” said Lantsman.

“Why would anyone believe he takes national security seriously?”