A Long Island man working for the NYPD has been arrested for allegedly acting as an agent for a foreign government and spying on New Yorkers, prosecutors said.
Baimadajie Angwang, 33, who was born in the autonomous region of Tibet in China and now lives in Williston Park in Nassau County, was arrested on Monday, Sept. 21 for allegedly reporting to officials at the Chinese consulate about the activities of Tibetans in New York.
In addition to his work as an NYPD officer, Angwang also serves in the U.S. Army Reserve.
It is alleged that Angwang, who works in the 111th precinct in Queens, initially traveled to the country on a cultural exchange visa, but he “eventually sought asylum in the United States on the basis that he had allegedly been arrested and tortured in the (People’s Republic of China) due partly to this Tibetan ethnicity.”
However, prosecutors are alleging that despite Angwang’s claims, he has traveled to the People’s Republic of China on multiple occasions since asylum was granted, meaning he gained citizenship through false notions.
The complaint states that beginning in 2014, Angwang maintained a relationship with an official at the Chinese consulate, and developed a relationship with a second in 2018, who he called “boss.”
During that time, Angwang texted or called the consulate more than 100 times after being granted asylum in the United States.
It is believed the second official is assigned to a department responsible for neutralizing threats to the Republic of China.
Federal officials are accusing Angwang of providing information on ethnic Tibetans in New York and elsewhere to the Chinese government, scouting out Tibetan intelligence agents, and using his NYPD position to get Chinese consulate officials access to senior NYPD members with official event invitations.
Last year, Angwang allegedly was also part of a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Defense by allegedly transmitting a Questionnaire for National Security Positions, which is mandatory to obtain some jobs that require specific levels of security clearance, with phony answers to certain questions.
Charges against Angwang include acting as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the attorney general, wire fraud, making false statements about contacts, and obstruction of an official proceeding.
“As alleged in this federal complaint, Baimadajie Angwang violated every oath he took in this country,” New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a statement. “One to the United States, another to the U.S. Army, and a third to this Police Department,”
“From the earliest stages of this investigation, the NYPD’s Intelligence and Internal Affairs bureaus worked closely with the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division to make sure this individual would be brought to justice.”
Prosecutors requested that Angwang be held without bond because he poses a “serious flight risk.” If convicted, Angwang faces up to 55 years in prison. He is expected to make his initial court appearance in Brooklyn on Sept. 21.
“The defendant allegedly violated the trust of his community and the New York City Police Department on behalf of a foreign power, the People’s Republic of China. This type of conduct simply cannot be tolerated,” FBI Assistant Director Alan Kohler said.
“This case serves as yet another reminder that China represents the biggest counterintelligence threat to the United States and that the FBI and our partners will be aggressive in investigating and stopping such activities within our nation.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney added: “This is the definition of an insider threat - as alleged, Mr. Angwang operated on behalf of a foreign government; lied to gain his clearance, and used his position as an NYPD police officer to aid the Chinese government's subversive and illegal attempts to recruit intelligence sources.
“The FBI is committed to stopping hostile foreign governments from infiltrating our institutions, and we will not tolerate the behavior of those who willingly violate their oath to the United States, and covertly work against their fellow citizens."
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