Brooklyn, NY – A New York Police Department (NYPD) officer and U.S. Army reservist was arrested on Monday and charged with spying for the Chinese government.
A criminal complaint unsealed in Brooklyn federal court revealed that prosecutors have accused 33-year-old NYPD Officer Baimadajie Angwang of acting on behalf of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as an “intelligence asset,” the New York Post reported.
The complaint said Officer Angwang was recruited by an unidentified “handler” stationed in the Chinese consulate in Manhattan in May of 2018.
The officer, who served as a community affairs officer in the 111th Precinct, gathered information for China on potential opponents of its government, including “religious and ethnic minorities,” the New York Post reported.
Investigators said his handler, whom the complaint identified as “PRC Official-2,” was assigned to the “China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture.”
Court papers said that division of the Chinese United Front Work Department was responsible for “neutralizing sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of the PRC,” the New York Post reported.
Officer Angwang, a naturalized U.S. citizen whose family is from Tibet, allegedly reported to his handler on the activities of fellow ethnic Tibetans in New York City.
The officer was also accused of finding “potential ethnic Tibetan intelligence sources in the New York metropolitan area and beyond,” as well as identifying potential troublemakers to the Chinese government, the New York Post reported.
The criminal complaint quoted a wiretapped phone call between Officer Angwang and his handler, whom he called “boss,” on Nov. 14, 2019 during which he said several ethnic Tibetans were working for elected officials in New York.
“They are mainly, mainly, mainly, in Queens, at the Queens area state legislator’s office,” the complaint quoted Officer Angwang. “These offices all have our people working there, because our population is getting larger. They hire them to pull in more votes, to pull in more votes.”
“But I also feel that some community groups may use their relationships to associate with them, to chant slogans, to utter nonsense,” the officer allegedly told his handler. “They may, may, may create more work for you.”
The complaint said the NYPD officer “asked PRC Official-2 for taskings and volunteered to assist PRC Official-2 by providing information from NYPD systems,” the New York Post reported.
Officer Angwang “provided Consulate officials access to senior NYPD officials through invitations to official NYPD events,” according to the criminal complaint.
Additional phone surveillance by authorities discovered Officer Angwang boasting about his NYPD job, the New York Post reported.
The complaint said he told his handler to let his bosses “know, hey, you have someone in the police here” and said Chinese government officials “should be happy… because you have stretched your reach into the police.”
Officer Angwang “stated that his motivation to be promoted in the NYPD was to assist the PRC and bring ‘glory to China,’” the New York Post reported.
The complaint said the officer told his handler that if he “could not be promoted within the NYPD, he stated that ‘he might as well as be a government employee in China.’”
Officer Angwang was charged with spying, wire fraud, making false statements, and obstruction, the New York Post reported.
If convicted, he is facing up to 55 years behind bars.
Officer Angwang was due in court on Monday, the New York Post reported.
NYPD released a statement after the announcement by federal authorities, WCBS reported.
“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,” NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said. “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.”