Police departments in South and West Australia have launched investigations after receiving several reports of Chinese police car sightings on the streets of Adelaide and Perth.
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the vehicles had decals and Chinese-language markings that translated to “public safety” and “police.”
The South Australia Police confirmed to the outlet on Monday that it is “making inquiries into the vehicle and its owner.” As for the Western Australia (WA) Police Force, ABC reported officers were able to locate and question the driver of one of the fake police cars.
"WA Police spoke to the driver of the vehicle who stated he purchased the decals online," a police spokesman said on August 19. "He placed them on his car as a joke and after being spoken to by police has taken them off the vehicle."
This past weekend, a number of demonstrations were held in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne as part of the global “#StandWithHK” movement in support of ongoing anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong.
Protesters in Australia reiterated the five demands Hong Kong demonstrators made to the government: the absolute withdrawal of the extradition bill which is currently suspended, a government denouncement of the word “riot” being used to describe the demonstrations, the resignation of two chief executives, an independent inquiry into the actions of the Hong Kong Police Force in the past months and the unconditional freeing of those arrested in relation to the protests.
Counter-protests supporting Beijing’s sovereignty over the semi-autonomous city also took place, and a confrontation between the sides turned violent in Melbourne on Friday.
“We showed our strength and we did it peacefully. The fights were started by the pro-China demonstrators who showed up,” Jane Poon, a member of the Melbourne-based Australia-Hong Kong Link, told the SCMP on Friday.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been critical of the Hong Kong government’s handling of the protests.
"My view is ... to seek to de-escalate things, to encourage the Chief Executive of Hong Kong to be listening carefully to what people are saying in Hong Kong and work towards a peaceful and calm resolution of what is a very, very serious issue," the prime minister said in a press conference on August 13.
Morrison also rejected Beijing spokesman Yang Guang’s claim that the anti-extradition demonstrations have “begun to show signs of terrorism."
Since the public displays of support, Chinese Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye spoke with The Sydney Morning Herald and reminded the Australian government that matters in Hong Kong are "solely the internal affairs of China," saying any effort to aid the “violent radicals” in the streets would not go unnoticed.