Police raid China TV, net 13, release them after producing documents

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinet. He confirmed that the raid was part of attempt to fish out illegal immigrants in the country. [File, Standard]

Heavily armed police officers raided China Global Television Network (CGTV) headquarters in Nairobi’s Kilimani area and arrested 13 Chinese nationals.

The lunch time raid targeted foreigners who were alleged to be working for the media house without proper documents.

According to journalists working at the station, the officers in plain clothes stormed the station at noon and demanded to see alien IDs and work permits of some of their foreign colleagues.

“Armed Police officers, about a dozen, with automatic weapons, have raided the China Global Television Network Africa HQ in Nairobi, rounding up staff members and demanding identity/alien cards and work permits from mostly expatriates working here. They did not identify themselves,” TV reporter Saddique Shaban tweeted.

The journalist added: “Whilst government agencies have a right to conduct their business, but the manner in which they stormed CGTN Africa HQ is despicable, unprofessional and dangerous. Several Chinese Staff members are currently unaccounted for after being violently arrested and taken away by police.”

The Chinese embassy in Nairobi said it had received help call from 13 Chinese nationals who were detained by Kenyan police even though they held legal documents.

The consular officers of the Chinese Embassy then went to the police station to know about the situation with the mission saying it had raised concerns over the conduct of the security forces.  

“13 Chinese nationals, after being verified the documents, were proven to be legal residents and were released immediately. Several such events happened recently. The Chinese Embassy is expressing its concern to Kenyan side through diplomatic channel,” the statement said.

 It added; “The Chinese Embassy in Kenya always requires the Chinese companies and individuals to abide by the local law, stay and work legally in Kenya. The Chinese Embassy respects the legal acts of Kenyan police. However, the Embassy deems that the Chinese nationals who hold legal residence and working permits should not be detained.”

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet also confirmed the incident saying the operation was conducted in search of illegal immigrants that netted the 13 who were alter freed after presenting their papers.

The act brought back memories of March 2006, when heavily armed police officers in balaclavas raided the Standard Group offices.  

“The police stormed the @cgtnafrica newsroom with guns, apparently "looking for foreigners". Having seen a similar undercover raid police incident with KTN in 2006, we asked that the police identify themselves. They refused and attempted to make arbitrary arrests,’ Shaban who formerly worked for KTN added in a tweet.