Tokyo police searched in May of last year the site of what an Asia-focused human rights group described as a Chinese overseas police station used to monitor the activities of its citizens, investigative sources revealed Wednesday.

The search into the organization, the registry of which shows it was established in 2018 to promote cooperation among overseas Chinese individuals and businesses, was conducted by the Tokyo police's Public Security Bureau over a case linking two former senior officials of the entity to fraudulent COVID-19 relief fund claims. The pair was referred to prosecutors on Wednesday.

Photo taken June 2023 shows the building in Tokyo's Akihabara electric town district that was searched by the police. (Kyodo)

The presence of Chinese covert police stations worldwide, including in Japan, was highlighted in a report released by Spain-based Safeguard Defenders in 2022. The Chinese government, however, has denied the existence of such bases.

In April last year, U.S. authorities arrested two individuals for allegedly operating such an unauthorized police station in New York for the Chinese government.

The search last May in a building in Tokyo's Akihabara electric town district revealed that the organization had been handling renewal procedures for Chinese driver's licenses for Chinese residents in Japan, according to the sources. The entity vacated the building following the search, they said.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, the two who were referred to prosecutors are of Chinese nationality -- a 44-year-old female business operator from Tokyo's Sumida Ward and a 59-year-old female company executive from Warabi, Saitama Prefecture.

The older woman is suspected of falsely claiming in July 2020 that her sex-related business in Nagano Prefecture, central Japan, was a chiropractic clinic run by the woman from Sumida Ward in order to receive 1 million yen ($6,700) in COVID-19 relief funds from the government.

The police have not disclosed whether the pair has admitted to the allegation.