NYPD Officer Arrested for Allegedly Spying for China

Eva Fu
Cathy He

A New York City police officer and U.S. Army Reserve member has been arrested on federal charges of acting as an illegal agent for the Chinese regime, federal prosecutors said on Sept. 21.

Baimadajie Angwang, a 33-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen born in China’s Tibet region, fed intelligence about other ethnic Tibetans in New York to the Chinese Consulate in the city, according to a criminal complaint.

Angwang works in Queens and lives in Nassau County, Long Island, prosecutors said. He was arrested on Sept. 19; at his initial court appearance in district court for the Eastern District of New York, he was ordered held without bail. Angwang’s attorney, John F. Carman, declined to comment to The Epoch Times about the case.

Angwang was charged with acting as an agent for China, committing wire fraud, making false statements, and obstructing an official proceeding. He faces up to 55 years imprisonment if convicted of all charges.

Prosecutors also alleged that he helped Chinese consulate officials gain access to senior NYPD officials.

According to the complaint, Angwang also works as a civil affairs specialist in the Army Reserve, holding the rank of staff sergeant and is stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey. His work involves planning, training, and executing civil-military programs, the document said. He holds a “secret” level security clearance in connection with this role.

In a phone call to an unnamed Chinese consular official—whom he referred to as “Boss”—in December 2018, Angwang identified himself as an “asset” for Beijing, saying that “even if they deny you in the end for whatever reason, but at least let them know, hey, you have someone in the police department here now,” the court records show.

He had regular communications with his handlers in the New York City consulate. He called and texted the Boss at least 55 times between June 2018 to March 2020. The Boss had invited him to the consulate’s “National Day” reception to celebrate the founding of the Chinese regime under Communist Party rule.

In a phone call on Oct. 30, 2018, the Boss complimented Angwang on being promoted within NYPD, to which he replied that he was preparing for a promotional exam “for the people back home.”

“There’s a whole bunch of people looking at you,” the Chinese official replied.

On Nov. 19, 2018, Angwang also informed the Boss about upcoming NYPD events “to raise our country’s soft power,” indicating that the intel could help the official advance in ranks within the Chinese government.

“In the future, after you get a whatever position [sic] in Beijing, I will wait for your invitation,” he told that official.

“This is the definition of an insider threat,” said William Sweeney, assistant director-in-charge at the FBI, in a statement. “As alleged, Mr. Angwang operated on behalf of a foreign government; lied to gain his clearance, and used his position as an NYPD police officer to aid the Chinese government’s subversive and illegal attempts to recruit intelligence sources.”

The prosecutors noted that Angwang had failed to notify the U.S. attorney general about his activities for the Chinese regime. Agents of foreign governments are required to register with the Justice Department under federal law.

NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said the department’s intelligence and internal affairs bureau worked closely with the FBI’s counterintelligence division to investigate Angwang.

“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,” Shea said in an emailed statement.

Angwang first traveled to the United States on a cultural exchange visa and eventually obtained asylum, claiming he was arrested and tortured in China due to his Tibetan ethnicity.