A New York City police officer and U.S. Army Reservist from Williston Park was arrested Monday on charges that he acted as an agent for the People’s Republic of China for the past two years, federal authorities said.
Baimadajie Angwang, a community affairs officer in the NYPD’s 111th precinct in Queens, was charged at Brooklyn federal court with wire fraud, making false statements, obstructing an official proceeding, and acting as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification of the attorney general. The NYPD said he is suspended without pay.
“The defendant allegedly violated his sworn oath to serve the New York
City community and defend the Constitution against all enemies by reporting to PRC
government officials about the activities of Chinese citizens in the New York area and
developing intelligence sources within the Tibetan community in the United States,”
said Seth D. DuCharme, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Prosecutors said the 33-year-old native of Tibet and naturalized U.S. citizen falsely indicated on an application for a secret security level clearance for his work with the Army Reserves that he had no contact with a foreign government when he in fact had “extensive contacts” with Chinese government officials. The application was part of a U.S. Department of Defense national security background investigation that was performed before was granted clearance.
As a reservist, Angwang holds the rank of staff sergeant and is stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey in an Airborne Civil Affairs battalion, where his duties include advising the command on the tactical and operational deployment of Civil Affairs teams, according to court documents.
“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 NYPD Commissioner Dermot 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.”
Of the two Chinese government officials the suspect was in contact with, one was assigned to the “China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture,” which is
responsible for neutralizing sources of potential opposition to national policies, records show.
Angwang “reported on the activities of ethnic Tibetans, and others, in the New York metropolitan area to the Consulate,” assessed potential ethnic Tibetan intelligence sources in the region and “used his official position in the NYPD to provide Consulate officials access to senior NYPD officials through invitations to official NYPD events,” according to court documents.
“If it’s good or not, you need to know about this for your work’s sake,” the officer allegedly told one of the Chinese officials while discussing a new Tibetan community center in Queens, according to FBI transcripts of dozens of wiretapped calls between the suspect and the officials. “They are the biggest venue for activities right now. If they are involved with politics, then in the future more than half of the meetings might take place there.”
Beijing sent troops into Tibet in 1950 in what it officially terms a peaceful liberation and maintains a heavy security presence in the region, which has been prone to unrest. China rejects criticism from rights groups and Tibetan exiles of its rule there, saying it has brought much-needed development to a remote region and that it respects Tibet‘s culture and religion. China’s policies towards Tibet have come under the spotlight again this year amid worsening ties with the United States.
The officer also indicated that he would provide the consulate with confidential information pertaining to NYPD operations, according to the FBI. He additionally asked the Consulate official, who he called “boss,” for permission to do an interview with New Tang Dynasty Television after the NYPD asked him to do so. The Consulate official urged him not to do the interview because the news outlet is critical of China, records show.
Angwang’s attorney was not immediately available for comment. He is due to be arraigned Monday afternoon.