Bajimadajie Angwang is identified as the NYPD officer who was reportedly arrested Monday on suspicion of acting as an illegal agent of the Chinese government, according to federal prosecutors.
He was born in China’s Tibet region and serves in the U.S. Army Reserve. Angwang, who initially traveled to the U.S. on a cultural exchange visa, sought asylum, claiming he’d been arrested and tortured in China because of his Tibetan ethnicity. Though he is Tibetan, his ties to China run deep, the Justice Department said.
His father is retired from China People’s Liberation Army and is a member of the Chinese Communist Party while his mother is a retired government official and also a member of the Communist Party and his brother serves as a reservist in the PLA, prosecutors allege.
And they live in China.
Angwang, who lives in Nassau County, Long Island, and works out of the 111th Precinct in Queens, s assigned to the community affairs unit, where he serves as a liaison for NYPD.
Angwang reported on the activity of ethnic Tibetans in the New York area to the Chinese consulate and was tasked with recruiting potential intelligence assets among the city’s Tibetan community.
Baimadajie Angwang Alleged of Espionage Activity
The 33-year-old officer, as an agent, “spotted and assessed potential ethnic Tibetan intelligence sources in the New York metropolitan area and beyond,” the complaint said. Tibetans have long been oppressed by the Chinese government and many are believed to have been killed since China occupied the region decades ago.
Angwang serves as a civil affairs specialist with a rank of staff sergeant in the Army Reserve and is stationed at Fort Dix, N.J. His duties include advising commanders on the tactical and operational deployment of civil affairs teams and assisting in the planning, training, and executing of civil-military programs. He holds a “SECURITY” level security clearance, which allows him access to classified information.
The espionage activity took place from May 2018 to his arrest, prosecutors said. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Baimadajie Angwang’s Account Records
Around May 2019, he devised a scheme to defraud the Department of Defense “and to obtain money and property from the U.S. government by means of one or more materially false and fraudulent pretenses”.
Investigators found that in 2016, Angwang wired $100k from a U.S. bank to his brother’s account and subsequently wired an additional $50,000 to someone else in China.
He also received multiple wire transfers from China, officials said.
Baimadajie Angwang Under Investigation
“Since June 2018, Angwang had been communicating with a Chinese official he referred to as “Boss”. In October of 2018, he advised the official about a new Tibetan community center in Queens that they should visit together.
“If they are involved with politics, then in the future more than half of the meetings might take place there,” Angwang allegedly told his Chinese handler.
In a phone call, he asked the Chinese official if he wanted to attend NYPD events to “raise our country’s soft power,” the complaint said.
In another conversation, Angwang told the official that U.S. citizens of Tibetan ethnicity were working in the New York offices of elected officials. He allegedly said these staff members could use their access to politicians to promote opposition to the Chinese government in their electoral districts.
Other conversations included Angwang talking about recruiting potential Tibetans as agents and rewarding them with 10-year U.S. visas.
In February 2019, Angwang told the officials about a meeting being held in the community center. He further stated, according to the Justice Department, that he wanted to bring glory to China because amid a looming promotional exam: “On our passport, the birthplace says China, others see it. Must bring glory to the Chinese. We must take the exams. If I don’t keep climbing up, I might as well be a government employee in China. It’s very good to be government employees in our area.”
Federal prosecutors said Angwang had contact with the Chinese consulate officials dozens of times.
“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 Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a statement obtained by Fox News. “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”.
Charges Against Baimadajie Angwang
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn charged him with acting as a foreign agent without notifying American authorities, wire fraud, and making false statements, according to a complaint.
Messages to the police union and Angwang’s attorney were not returned.
He was expected to appear in federal court Monday.