New York City Police Officer Baimadajie Angwang, a Williston Park resident, was arrested and charged with acting as an illegal agent of the People’s Republic of China on Monday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Angwang, 33, a native of Tibet, supplied information on Tibetans living in the United States to Chinese officials, according to a criminal complaint.
Angwang was also charged with committing wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding, according to the Justice Department. He was ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann in federal court in Brooklyn, according to Newsday.
Efforts to reach the court regarding Angwang’s court appearance were unavailing.
According to officials, Angwang can face up to 55 years’ imprisonment if found guilty. Court documents showed that Angwang told his official handler from China that he wanted to get promoted by the NYPD so he could bring “glory to China.”
FBI Special Agent Steven Deck outlined Angwang’s alleged actions in a criminal complaint that was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn.
Deck said Angwang “maintained a relationship” with at least two Chinese consulates since approximately 2018, according to court documents. Angwang allegedly contacted one consulate cellphone at least 53 times from 2014 to 2017, according to court documents.
One of the consulates, Deck said, was believed to be assigned to a subdivision of China’s United Front Work Department, responsible for “neutralizing sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of the [People’s Republic of China].”
Tibet, according to the court documents, is an “autonomous region” in China, historically home to ethnic Tibetans and the spiritual home of Tibetan Buddhism. Since 1951, when China occupied Tibet, a Tibetan independence movement for political separation from China has been present throughout the region, according to the documents. Thousands of ethnic Tibetans were believed to have been killed during periods of martial law and repression throughout the region, according to the documents.
Angwang, according to court documents, was assigned to the 111th Precinct in Queens and served as a patrol officer and a member of the precinct’s crime prevention team. He was also employed by the U.S. Army Reserve as a staff sergeant stationed in Fort Dix, New Jersey.
Angwang allegedly used his position in the Police Department to provide the Chinese consulates access to senior police officials through invitations to official NYPD events, according to the documents.
Deck said neither of the activities fell within the scope of Angwang’s duties and responsibilities for either the NYPD or the U.S. Army Reserve.
“Had background investigators been aware of the full extent of Angwang’s contact with foreign government officials, Angwang would not have maintained his secret security clearance with the Department of Defense,” the complaint read.
Angwang also allegedly lied by denying he had contacts with foreign government officials or consulates on an electronically submitted background investigation form.
“As alleged in this federal complaint, Baimadajie Angwang violated every oath he took in this country,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said. “One to the United States, another to the U.S. Army, and a third to this Police Department.”
“State and local officials should be aware that they are not immune to the threat of Chinese espionage,” Assisant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a statement. “Our police departments provide for our public safety and are often the first line of defense against the national security threats our country faces. We will continue to work with our state and local partners to protect our nation’s great police departments.”
Efforts to reach a family member of Angwang’s or his attorney for comment were unavailing.