Retired Canadian police officer charged with illegally helping China

The British Columbia Royal Canadian Mounted Police headquarters in Surrey, British Columbia, Dec. 5, 2017. [Reuters]

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said a retired police officer had been charged on Friday with foreign interference, alleging he helped China "identify and intimidate someone outside the scope of Canadian law."

Canada has accused China of trying to interfere in its affairs through various schemes, including illegal police stations and the targeting of lawmakers. Beijing has strongly denied all such allegations.

In a statement, the RCMP said William Majcher, 60, "allegedly used his knowledge and his extensive network of contacts in Canada to obtain intelligence or services to benefit the People's Republic of China." It did not give details.

The RCMP said Majcher, from Hong Kong, had been charged with conspiracy and acts benefiting a foreign entity. The two charges stem from a probe that started in late 2021, it added.

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Relations between Canada and China have been icy for several years.

In May, Ottawa expelled a Chinese diplomat for allegedly seeking to target opposition lawmaker Michael Chong's family in Hong Kong in 2021. Police said last month they were probing allegations China tried to intimidate a federal legislator, one of more than 100 inquiries into foreign meddling.