An officer of the NYPD and Army reservist who possessed a “secret” security clearance was accused of spying on Tibetans and handing over the intelligence to a Chinese government handler according to a report from authorities on September 21, 2020.
Baimadajie Angwang, was employed as a community affairs officer in the 111th Precinct in Queens, reportedly started working for the People’s Republic of China in May 2018 with an unidentified handler based in the Chinese consulate in Manhattan, according to a complaint released in Brooklyn federal court.
The papers highlighted that his contacts with the consulate started in 2014.
FBI New York Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr. described Angwang as “the definition of an insider threat.” The FBI official “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 New York Post reported that Angwang “served as an intelligence asset” whose roles included collecting data on potential opponents of the Chinese state, which includes members of “religious and ethnic minorities.”
His handler, described as “PRC Official-2,” is allegedly tasked with handling matters related to the “China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture,” a division of the Chinese United Front Work Department. According to the court papers, this branch of the Chinese government is responsible for “neutralizing sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of the PRC.”
Angwang is an ethnic Tibetan and naturalized citizen. He was accused of spying on the activities of his Tibetan compatriots. These accusations included by keeping tabs on “potential ethnic Tibetan intelligence sources in the New York metropolitan area and beyond.”.
According to phone conversations, Angwang bragged about his job at the NYPD. He told his handler to let his superiors “know, hey, you have someone in the police here” and saying they “should be happy…because you have stretched your reach into the police.”
Angwang also “stated that his motivation to be promoted in the NYPD was to assist the PRC and bring ‘glory to China’” and that if he “could not be promoted within the NYPD, he stated that ‘he might as well as be a government employee in China,’” according to court papers.
“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,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea commented. Shea also announced that Angwang has been suspended without pay.
“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.”
Angwang immigrated to the U.S. on a cultural exchange visa, overstayed a second visa and pursued asylum by claiming to have been arrested and tortured in China “due partly to his Tibetan ethnicity,” according to court documents.
The court documents assert that “despite alleging torture and persecution at the hands of PRC security officials, Angwang has traveled back to the PRC on numerous occasions since his asylum application was granted.”
Angwang’s parents are members of the Chinese Communist Party. His father is a veteran of the People’s Liberation Army and his mother is a retired government worker per court papers.
Further, Angwang has a brother that’s a PLA reservist and all three family members live in China.
The NYPD hired Angwang on January 6, 2016 and recently made around $53,500 during the fiscal year of 2019, according to the records from the city’s online payroll.
In April and May 2016, Angwang wired $150,000 to his brother and another person in China, hinting at him having “significant financial resources in the US.”
In addition, he’s reportedly “received multiple substantial wire transfers from the PRC,” including about $50,000 from his brother in May 2016.
He and his wife also “received separate credits of $50,000 and $20,000 from an account held in the name of an individual at the Bank of China in New York” in 2014, court papers stated.
Angwang is a part of the US Army reserve and holds the position of staff sergeant.
In addition, he is a part of an Airborne Civil Affairs battalion stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey, where court documents note he “assists in planning, training, advising and executing civil-military programs.”
He possesses a “secret” security clearance from the Defense Department. In May 2019, Angwang allegedly lied on an eligibility form that he filled out in 2014 by denying that he maintained any contacts with a foreign government or its emissaries or has contact with his relatives that are connected to the Chinese Army.
On top of his charges of illegally acting in the capacity as an agent of a foreign government and making false statements, Angwang received charges of wire fraud and obstruction of an official proceeding.
If Angwang is convicted, he could potentially face a maximum of 55 years in prison.
What we’re seeing here is another case of the U.S. needing to take its migration policies seriously.
Instead of trying to spark color revolutions in places like Hong Kong or moan about the Uyghurs, the U.S. should get its immigration house in order. It’s clear that the Chinese are serious about competing with America and they’ll be exploiting America’s immigration loopholes to get whatever advantage they can.
According to Breitbart News, Chinese nationals have replaced Mexican nationals as the largest foreign-born immigrants coming to America in 2018 and 2019. Chinese nationals have largely been implicated in various cases of economic and military espionage, along with academic fraud.
The U.S. is in a great power competition with China and it must be prepared to enact tough immigration policies to keep China from taking advantage of America’s flawed immigration policies. A flaccid response to this question on the part of the U.S. will only allow China to gain more ground and grow at the expense of America. The U.S. needs to stop appeasing defense contractors, and instead, tackle defense by tightening up its migration policies.