A New York City police officer who also serves in the U.S. Army Reserve was arrested Monday on a federal charges of acting as an illegal agent of China, for which he spied on his fellow ethnic Tibetans, authorities said.
The 33-year-old cop, Baimadajie Angwang, who was born in the autonomous region of Tibet in China, allegedly reported to officials at the Chinese consulate in New York on the activities of otherTibetans in the New York area.
Authorties noted in a criminal complaint that Angwang, who currently works for the New York Police Department in the 111th precinct in northeastern, Queens, “initially traveled to the United States on a cultural exchange visa.”
But after overstaying a second visa 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,” the complaint said.
The complaint said that beginning as early as 2014, Angwan maintained a relationship one Chinese official at the consulate, and then in 2018 developed a relationship with a second official there, who was his handler, and whom he called “Boss.”
The second official is believed to have been assigned to a department that is responsible neutralizing sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of the PRC.
Tibet, which China occupied in 1951, is seen as a threat to the stability of the communist regime because of calls for the region’s independence, particuarly by Tibetans at home and overseas who consider the self-exiled Dalai Lama, a Buddhist leader, their spiritual guide.
The complaint says that Angwang texted or called the consulate officials more than 100 times since 2014. The complaint also containts transcripts of some of thoses calls, during which Angwang proposes his handler attend Tibetan events in Queens, and asked whether that official “wanted to attend NYPD events ‘to raise our country’s soft power.’ ”
Angwang, who lives in Nassau County, Long Island, is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
The cop was scheduled to make a virtual appearance in federal court on Monday afternoon.
New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, in a statement said, “As alleged in this federal complaint, Baimadajie Angwang violated every oath he took in this country.”
“One to the United States, another to the U.S. Army, and a third to this Police Department,” said Shea. “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.”
According to court filings, Angwang “currently holds the rank of Staff Sergeant” in the Army Reserve, “and is stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey in an Airborne Civil Affairs battalion.”
The criminal complaint said that Angwang, “while acting at the direction and control of PRC officials, has, among other things … reported on the activities of ethnic Tibetans, and others, in the New York metropolitan area to the Consulate” of China.
He also allegedly “spotted and assessed potential ethnic Tibetan intelligence sources in the New York metropolitan area and beyond,” the complaint said.
And Angwang “used his official position in the NYPD to provide Consulate officials access to senior NYPD officials through invitations to official NYPD events,” the complaint said.
Angwang is charge with acting as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the attorney general, wire fraud, making false statements, and obstruction of an official proceeding.
Angwang works as a civil affairs specialist for the Army Reserve. As part of his job there, he holds “Secret” level security clearance.
Authorities said that Angwang’s father is a retired member of China’s army, and a member of the nation’s communist party, while is mother is both a communist party member and a retired Chinese government officials. His parents live in China, as does his brother, who is a reservist in the People’s Liberation Army.
The New York Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents patrol officers such as Angwang, last November on Facebook posted an photo from a delegates meeting at which Angwang presented the American flag.
The post that said that Angwang had served one tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan with the U.S. military.
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