Reported sightings of fake Chinese police cars have been popping up in Adelaide and Perth, prompting responses from the public ranging from bemusement to alarm.
It is not known why the vehicles have suddenly appeared but there is widespread speculation on social media they are being strategically placed in streets by pro-China operatives to intimidate people attending pro-democracy Hong Kong rallies around Australia over the weekend.
South Australia police have confirmed they have identified the owner of a sedan decked out to look like a Chinese police car, with the words “police” and “public safety” written in Mandarin on the side and bonnet and a Chinese police logo.
While it is an offence to ‘impersonate’ a police car, it is not clear whether it is illegal to deck a car out to look like a police vehicle from another country.
In Perth, WA Police have been quoted on social media telling alarmed ex-pats from China it is not illegal to own a car with Chinese markings on it.
Thousands of people took part in pro-democracy Hong Kong rallies across Australia on Friday and Saturday, but supporters of China also gathered in major cities.
Source 7NEWS.com.au , AAP