Over the past few weeks, Australians in Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne have reported seeing cop cars they didn’t recognize around town. These didn’t look like patrol cars from the state over, though. They looked like you what you might get pulled over by in Shanghai or Shenzhen.
According to Vice, reported sightings of the cars in Chinese police livery coincided with confrontations in Adelaide between demonstrators protesting in favor and condemnation of the current social unrest in Hong Kong, causing some to suggest a relationship between the cars and the events.
Although no link has been found and a policewoman told 7 News Australia that an owner told her that he “bought the decals on eBay,” some remain concerned. A demonstration leader speaking under condition of anonymity told the ABC that “there are people who are intimidated by it,” adding that she was concerned after seeing the second one, unsure if it was a coordinated intimidation effort or a prank.
The decal-ed cars may have spooked a number of people, but the state governments involved are unsure whether they actually are illegal. All of the states in question have statutes on the books banning impersonation of police, but it is unclear if that also pertains to impersonate foreign law enforcement as well.