A three-judge appeals panel on Tuesday reserved decision on whether to grant bail to NYPD officer and Williston Park resident Baimadajie Angwang, who is accused of supplying Chinese officials with information on Tibetans living in the United States.
Arguments between Angwang’s attorney, John Carman of Garden City, and Eastern District prosecutor Matthew Haggans were centered on whether Judge Eric Komitee made “technical errors” in refusing to grant Angwang bail as he awaits trial and if Angwang hid previous employment with a Chinese businessman when he was questioned by pre-trial authorities, according to Newsday.
Carman told Newsday that Angwang is “likely” to remain in federal detention until the start of the trial if he is not granted bail. Carman said he expects the trial to begin in 2022 or 2023, according to Newsday.
Efforts to reach Carman or other officials for comment were unavailing.
Angwang, 33, pleaded not guilty on Oct. 29 to federal charges that he supplied Chinese officials with information on Tibetans living in the United States.
He was also charged with committing wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding, according to the Justice Department.
Last month he was ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Roanne Mann in federal court in Brooklyn, according to reports.
According to officials, Angwang faces 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.”
Judge Komitee initially ordered the release of Angwang on a $1 million bond before ruling that a hearing would be held to determine the severity of a possible sentence if he is convicted and if deportation would be required, according to reports.
Komitee ordered Angwang’s release to be delayed so the prosecution and defense could make arguments regarding the severity of the alleged crimes.
FBI Special Agent Steven Deck outlined Angwang’s alleged actions in a criminal complaint that was unsealed earlier 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, 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 a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve 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 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.”