33-year-old NYPD community affairs officer Baimadajie Angwang has been arrested at his Long Island home — where he lives with his wife and young daughter — for allegedly acting as a spy for China’s communist party, several sources report.
Working for the 111th precinct in Queens until his arrest on Monday, CBS New York reports that Angwang “served five years in the U.S. Marines and most recently served as a reservist with the U.S. Army as a staff sergeant at Fort Dix in New Jersey. He collected several awards and held a secret level security clearance.”
The New York Times also reports that “in addition to being a police officer, he was once named ‘Cop of the Month'” and his “‘secret’-level security clearance [allowed] him access to classified information.”
Joining the force in 2016, the complaint filed against Angwang accuses him of “[using] his official position in the NYPD” to accept money from the People’s Republic of China and spying on ethnic Tibetans in New York City since 2018.
An ethnic Tibetan and naturalized U.S. citizen himself, Forbes reports that Angwang “allegedly worked with officials at China’s New York City consulate, and monitored the activities of ethnic Tibetans” for almost two years. This includes “determining possible Tibetan intelligence sources, along with giving [Chinese] consulate officials access to senior NYPD officers [through invitations to official NYPD events].” According to prosecutors, one of these events includes Angwang’s invitation of a Chinese official to “an annual banquet for Asian American police officers” (The New York Times).
The complaint continues to paint an interesting picture of Angwang’s background, which claims he first came to the U.S. from China on a cultural exchange visa. From this, The New York Times reports he was granted asylum after saying he’d been “arrested and tortured in mainland China for his Tibetan ethnicity.” But prosecutors instead “suggested Angwang secured his American citizenship under false pretenses.” They argue that he had even traveled back to China after being granted asylum.
A strained relationship for several decades, Tibet is an autonomous region within China that has been occupied by the ruling Communist Party since 1951. The complaint acknowledges the Chinese government often views Tibet as a “threat to the mainland’s long-term stability.” While many ethnic Tibetans have obtained asylum abroad, Forbes reports Angwang still has familial ties with China’s Communist Party. Still living in China, both his mother and father are [among the party’s retired] members [while his brother] serves in the ruling party’s military.” According to the source, “Angwang [allegedly] exchanged hundreds of thousands of dollars with his family members in multiple wire transfers,” which prosecutors believe is “proof of their closeness” to the Chinese government.
According to CB2‘s Ali Bauman, Angwang’s neighbors are in disbelief:
“He always says hi. Very social. Very outgoing. He was very nice to us,” one neighbor Ainsey Chandy mentions.
“It’s hard to believe. You don’t see this around here. A spy?” another neighbor Ralph Bonelli questions.
But members of the Tibetan community in Queens are not surprised.
“Communist China never [gives] a chance to Tibetan people… this is the idea of Communist China,” one community member says.
“They have thousands of Tibetans living here in New York and New Jersey, you know, and we never create any problems,” says another.
Though his lawyer has yet to release a public statement in response to these allegations, Angwang likely faces up to 55 years in prison if convicted.
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