DHARAMSALA, 22 Sept: A New York City Police Department officer and United States Army reservist has been arrested on federal charges of acting as an illegal agent of China by spying on fellow Tibetans in the city.
Officer Baimadajie Angwang(Pema Dhargyal Ngawang) 33, a naturalized US citizen from Tibet allegedly reported two Chinese consulate officials in the city since 2014 on the activities of other Tibetans in the New York area, said the indictment released Monday.
According to the indictment, Angwang who works for the New York Police Department’s community affairs unit in the 111th precinct in Queens “acted at the direction and control of officials at the PRC Consulate in New York City” since at least 2014, “reported on the activities of Chinese citizens in the New York area, spotted and assessed potential intelligence sources within the Tibetan community in New York and elsewhere, and provided PRC officials with access to senior NYPD officials through invitations to official events.
Angwang works as a civil affairs specialist for the Army Reserve. As part of his job there, he holds “Secret” level security clearance.
“As alleged in this federal complaint, Baimadajie Angwang violated every oath he took in this country. One to the United States, another to the US army and a third to this police department,” the NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea has stated in a statement.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court, Angwang texted or called the consulate officials more than 100 times since 2014.
The New York City police officer is charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the U.S. attorney general, wire fraud, making false statements and obstruction of an official proceeding.
If convicted, the alleged Chinese spy will face a maximum prison sentence of 55 years.
William Sweeney, the head of the FBI’s New York office, which investigated the case has called Angwang “an insider threat” who used his position in the NYPD to aid China.
According to court filings, Angwang received asylum in the United States after he claimed he was tortured by China because of his Tibetan ethnically.
However, the authorities have stated that in reality, his parents are both members of the Chinese Communist Party.
Angwang’s father is a retired member of China’s army, and a member of the nation’s Communist Party, while his mother is both a Communist Party member and a retired Chinese government official.
Dorjee Tseten, the executive director of activist group Students for a Free Tibet based in Queens has revealed that many among the local Tibetan community were suspicious of the cop, reports the New York Daily News.
Tsetan has stated in the report that though he had never met Angwang, the cop had tried to “contact and get in” the community and many activists were suspicious of him.
The police officer was ordered held without bail during a brief appearance in Brooklyn Federal Court.