On Monday, September 21st, New York Police Department officer and Army Reservist, Baimadajie Angwang was detained by the FBI for allegedly working as an illegal agent for the Chinese government. He is accused of providing information about Tibetans living in the United States to unnamed handlers at the Chinese consulate in New York City. Prosecutors state that the police officer, a Tibetan native, repeatedly reported to Chinese consulate officials for six years.
The 25-page criminal complaint, issued by the Brooklyn federal court, states that the 33-year-old used his post in the NYPD to provide China with access to senior NYPD officials -Angwang was a police officer in the 111th precinct in Queens, working in the community affairs unit. Additionally, as a staff sergeant in the Army Reserve, Baimadajie Angwang had security clearance with the ability to obtain classified information. According to court documents, Angwang offered to explain the inside workings of the NYPD.
In the criminal complaint, Angwang is accused of reporting on the movements of Tibetans in New York to China and looking for potential intelligence sources and threats to China in New York City. Authorities claim that from between June 2018 to March 2020, Anwang has contacted the consulate officials by telephone over 53 times.
He is accused of inviting a Chinese official to NYPD events, offering potential access to senior police officials along with other offenses: acting as an illegal agent, three counts of wire fraud, making false statements, and obstruction.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea issued a statement saying, “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.”
Through a cultural exchange visa, Angwang first traveled from China to the United States, and later sought asylum, claiming that he had been mistreated and tortured during an arrest in mainland China due to his Tibetan ethnicity. Prosecutors suggested, however, in a court filing that Angwang obtained his citizenship under false pretenses, noting that he had returned to China after receiving asylum.
The head of the FBI’s New York office, William Sweeney, claims that the information given does not compromise national security or the NYPD.
Angwang has been suspended from the NYPD without pay and could potentially face 55 years in federal prison if he is convicted.