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Retired RCMP officer William Majcher's LinkedIn page said he is president of Emidr Ltd. in Hong Kong.Supplied

A retired RCMP officer has been charged with conducting foreign interference on behalf of China, the Mounties announced Friday.

William Majcher, who has lived and worked in Hong Kong for years, 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,” the RCMP said in a statement.

RCMP Inspector David Beaudoin said Mr. Majcher is accused of helping China locate and bully an individual “on Canadian territory.”

“We believe the facts of the case will show that he contributed to the Chinese government’s effort to identify and intimidate an individual. In that sense, we do believe that he was helping the Chinese government,” Insp. Beaudoin said in an interview.

He declined to provide any details about Beijing’s motive in this case.

Mr. Majcher served in the RCMP for 22 years, from 1985 to 2007, according to the Mounties.

His profile on Speakers Connect, a Hong Kong agency that offers event speakers for hire, says he worked as a Eurobond trader in London before joining the RCMP to work as “a covert operative – culminating in multiple successful money laundering and financial crime prosecutions.”

It also says he relocated to Hong Kong in 2006 to “establish an international banking platform on behalf of a Hong Kong merchant bank, representing a number of Chinese state-owned and non-state-owned enterprise clients engaged in overseas capital market activities.”

Mr. Majcher also featured prominently in a 2019 Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) story about how China has recruited former police detectives in Australia and other Western countries to help recover millions of dollars that were allegedly proceeds of crime or taken out of the country illegally.

“As long as the claim is valid and as long as we’re doing everything lawfully and properly, I’m a hired gun to help either large corporates or governments to get back what is rightfully theirs,” he told ABC.

The broadcaster said Mr. Majcher was part of “Project Dragon,” but he was cautious when describing his role in helping China’s Ministry of Public Security.

“I have a commercial relationship with entities that are in themselves associated in some form or another with policing authorities in China. And a big part of their mandate is focused on economic crime, financial crime, money laundering,” the former Mountie told ABC.

Mr. Majcher was arrested upon arriving in Vancouver on July 18 by plane, RCMP Corporal Tasha Adams said. He was subsequently released because the police felt they had insufficient information to charge him. They later obtained more information and arrested him again two days later. He remains in custody in Vancouver.

Mr. Majcher’s LinkedIn page says he is president of Emidr Ltd. in Hong Kong, a firm his Speakers Connect profile says “deploys military grade cyber technology to assist in cyber security and asset recovery operations.”

Corp. Adams said the RCMP believes the Chinese government is one of Mr. Majcher’s clients.

The RCMP said Mr. Majcher appeared via video conference at a Longueil, Que., courthouse where he was charged with two counts under the Security of Information Act, including Section 23, which covers “preparatory acts for the benefit of a foreign entity,” and Section 22, which covers conspiracy.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of two years.

The investigation that triggered these charges is not over, the RCMP said.

“This project is not considered as a concluded investigation on the RCMP side, and we are not excluding that more arrests and more laying of criminal charges might occur in the coming period,” Insp. Beaudoin said.

A guide to foreign interference and China’s suspected influence in Canada

Conservative foreign-affairs critic Michael Chong called Mr. Majcher’s arrest an important effort to disrupt foreign interference. But he said the government has taken “little to no action to protect Canadians from hostile foreign powers” and urged Ottawa to enact a foreign agent registry as soon as possible.

Mr. Majcher’s arrest follows half a year of national debate and reporting on rising foreign interference in Canada and how to address it. The federal government is negotiating with opposition parties about launching a public inquiry into foreign meddling. In February, The Globe and Mail reported on secret and top-secret CSIS documents that described a concerted strategy by Beijing to disrupt the democratic process in the 2021 election campaign. It revealed that Beijing targeted Mr. Chong and his relatives in Hong Kong – attempted intimidation the MP was never told about. The disclosure of this meddling prompted the Canadian government to expel Chinese diplomat Zhao Wei in May.

Stephanie Carvin, a former national-security analyst and associate professor at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, said she believes the RCMP is under pressure to demonstrate progress on the foreign interference front and that the Majcher case reflects the force’s effort to step up on this file.

Dennis Molinaro, an instructor at Ontario Tech University and a former national-security analyst, said the case could be related to China’s Operation Fox Hunt – a campaign ostensibly to repatriate Chinese criminals but also used to target dissidents – or other Beijing-directed harassment of Chinese people overseas.

He said the skills possessed by a former law-enforcement officer such as Mr. Majcher could be useful to Beijing in tracking and hunting down people it wishes to haul back to China.

Mr. Majcher has made headlines before. In 2005, the Vancouver Sun reported that he was removed from his job as head of the RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Team in Vancouver pending the outcome of an internal investigation. The Sun said he was suspended with pay in July of that year. After reaching a settlement in 2007, he retired. The paper also reported that he ran a losing campaign for the federal Conservative nomination in a Richmond, B.C., riding.

The RCMP said its Integrated National Security Enforcement Team launched an investigation in the fall of 2021 regarding Mr. Majcher’s “suspicious activities.”

His next court appearance in Longueil is scheduled for July 25.

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