The Compartment: Fijian Government Possibly Linked to Chinese Organised Crime
The following is an OSINT investigation into possible links between the Fijian Government and an identified Chinese individual, where documents link him to organised crime.
During research towards organised crime in the Pacific, a slide deck was discovered likely originating from a branch of the Fijian Police, which name dropped several Chinese organised crime figures known to be operating various trafficking rings in Fiji. When doing checks against the names – one person seemed to be very involved with members of the Fijian Government.. His name is
Fugang Zhao / Zhao Fugang.
Who is Fugang Zhao?
According to reports, Fugang Zhao is a part of a global network of unofficial Chinese government agents that serve Beijing's interests while operating outside of the country's formal channels. His possible covert function is to further the interests of the Chinese Communist Party while pretending to be a local Chinese businessman in Fiji and purportedly working to advance his own interests.
Zhao is also the director of the Overseas Chinese Service Centre (OCSC) in Fiji. A 2022 report indicated that OCSC’s are a front for the CCP United Front Work Department. These are used to co-opt and eliminate sources of possible resistance to the policies and power of the CCP. The CCP's United Front Work Department , which is in charge of organising these influence operations, is primarily concerned with managing possible opposition organisations inside China, but it also has a significant role to play in influencing events abroad.
Further, the online slide pack, specifically names Zhao as part of ‘Syndicate Two’ which is one of three organised crime syndicates “exploiting the various loopholes in enforcement and are legitimising proceeds freely”. It also states that Zhao is part of ‘Travel and Tour’ with further searches confirming his involvement with a tour-related business. Assessment. Noting that this company is tour related, it could possibly be used as a front for human and/or sex trafficking. Assessment Ends.
Ties to the Fijian Government
Multiple media reports have Zhao courting various Fijian politicians and officials, including the Prime Minister, at functions and events. Some key events include:
In 2019, Zhao is photographed with Fijian Minister for Infrastructure, and Minister of Defence and National Security at celebrations of the 2019 Spring Festival and Chinese Lunar New Year.
In 2021, Zhao’s OCSC organised a Chinese Lantern Festival in Suva, where Fijian PM Frank Bainimarama attends.
In Dec 2021, the Fiji Police and Chinese Community Exchange Forum on Public Security is held at the Yue Lai Hotel, which is owned by Zhao. The forum was held in partnership between the Fiji Police Force, the Chinese Embassy and the Fijian OCSC.
In August 2022, celebrations for the 95th Anniversary of the PLA are held at the Yue Lai Hotel. In attendance are Fijian and PLA senior officers and other dignitaries. China ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo is also in attendance. Zhao almost certainly attended this event.
Further reporting also suggests the following (the following is drawn from single-source, uncorroborated reporting, however, the author seems credible:
“He [Zhao] is so close to the Prime Minister that Bainimarama regards him as a personal friend and they regularly meet to drink whisky. At these meetings, Zhao Fugang passes cash to Frank Bainimarama raised from the Chinese community in Fiji.”
“from multiple sources that Zhao Fugang has told Chinese community members that the money is for the FijiFirst Party. And that his demands on them have intensified with the approaching election. According to these community members, Zhao Fugang claims that Frank Bainimarama has assured him that FijiFirst will win the election because he, Bainimarama, has the backing of the military.”
“Zhao Fugang – while posing as a hotel and restaurant operator – is also acting as an official Chinese cheerleader in Fiji.”
The following is also an alleged leaked letter from Zhao who wrote on behalf of a group claiming to be the “Promotion of China Re-Unification Society” in Fiji:
“We strongly condemned Pelosi, the speaker of the US Congress, for his visit (sic) to Taiwan, China, despite China’s firm opposition! This move seriously violates the one China principle and the provisions of the three Sino US joint communiques, and seriously violates the basic norms of international relations. The US side’s treachery on the Taiwan issue is contemptible and can only further ruin the US national credibility. Some politicians in the United States only care about their own interests, openly play with fire and burn themselves on the Taiwan issue, regardless of the Chinese people and more than 1.4 billion Chinese people as enemies, there will never be a good end!!
Since ancient times, Taiwan has been an inalienable part of Chinese territory. There is only one China in the world, and the government of the people’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing the whole of China. It is recognized by the overwhelming majority of countries and leaders in the world, and it is the basic norms and general consensus of international relations. China’s reunification is the common aspiration of the Chinese people all over the world. The Chinese people at home and abroad are resolutely opposed to all attempts and acts to split China, and are resolutely opposed to any external forces interfering in the process of China’s peaceful reunification.
We overseas Chinese in Fiji strongly condemn Pelosi’s shameless act of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and challenging the whole Chinese people! Firmly support the determination, will and action of the Chinese government to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity!!
It is a serious provocation against China. Now overseas Chinese from all countries have expressed dissatisfaction and protest! Therefore, I suggest that a peace and reunification meeting be held in Yuelai at 10 a.m. this Sunday to discuss condemning the US behaviour… Please join us.
Thank you for your support. Zhao Fugang”
If the above reporting is true, or even slightly true, it is an indication of the influence that China has within Fijian politics. While it’s unclear whether or not there is organised crime links to the Fijian Government through Zhao, the fact that he is possibly involved in nefarious activity is concerning. Chinese money flowing to the FijiFirst party will give the party a significant advantage to the party in the upcoming elections – and China will look to push the FijiFirst Party to victory, in order to secure its influence within government.
This investigation continues..