Chinese police patrols will help with Asian tourists in Hungary

Gergely Gulyás said Chinese police were not allowed to take action or use their weapons in Hungary.

Gergely Gulyás, Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, has confirmed that Chinese police patrols in Hungary will help with tourists from the country. He noted that Hungary had similar agreements with the Austrian, Slovak and Slovenian authorities.

The measure was prompted by large numbers of tourists arriving from those countries, he said, adding that Chinese police were not allowed to take action or use their weapons in Hungary. The number of Chinese tourists has multiplied in Hungary recently, in addition to Chinese already resident in the country, he added. Meanwhile, a government report is scheduled to be published on Friday on allegations of graft regarding the reconstruction of Budapest’s landmark Chain Bridge, he said. The report seemed to reinforce the suspicion of corruption, he said, adding that it showed “correlation between public procurement tenders, contracts, the transfer of funds, and suspects’ money withdrawals… The case leads to Budapest City Hall,” he said.

On the subject of domestic political developments, Gulyás said Péter Magyar, who has mounted a challenge to the Fidesz government, had never been considered suitable for the post of minister. Asked about Magyar’s entry into politics, Gulyás said when in 2018 he was asked by the prime minister to head the Prime Minister’s Office, and he had been looking for a state secretary for European Union affairs, he told Magyar that he had considered Magyar’s ex-wife, former justice minister Judit Varga, “eminently suitable” for the role and later for the post of minister. “But not him. My opinion has not changed since,” he said. In response to a question on whether an internal investigation has been launched to reveal if Magyar had blackmailed persons under national security protection, including ministers, he said: “As for blackmail, nobody has blackmailed me”. Referring to a message received from Magyar, Gulyás said: “I do not like being threatened.” He added that the message in question, however, had “not crossed the line of criminal law”. “I received a single message this year, which was the only one-sided communication involving Péter Magyar…” he said, referring to a chat group which, he said, he had quit since. He added that Varga had since “published its essential contents”.

In response to a question concerning whether the Sovereignty Protection Office should investigate the funds Magyar received to organise his events, he said the office would make a decision on the matter, adding that he believed in transparency. “When someone organises what looks like an expensive event, they must give an account of their circle of supporters,” he said.
Also asked about the audio recordings made by Magyar in connection with the Völner-Schadl case, he said that Varga had mentioned several times to him that Magyar had been blackmailing him, and “either there [had been] such a recording or there [had not]… Whether the threat was real or not, only Judit Varga could [have judged],” he added. Asked about whether Gulyás still enjoyed the confidence of the prime minister in light of events surrounding Magyar, he replied that he had not noticed any change in his attitude towards him.