New York Police Department officer Baimadajie Angwang has been accused of spying on Chinese and Tibetan citizens and relaying information back to China, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court.
Angwang was charged on Monday with acting as an illegal agent of China, committing wire fraud, making false statements, and obstructing an official proceeding, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement.
“The defendant allegedly violated the trust of his community and the New York City Police Department on behalf of a foreign power, the People’s Republic of China,” Assistant FBI counterintelligence director Alan Kohler said. “This case serves as yet another reminder that China represents the biggest counterintelligence threat to the United States.”
Answering to officials at the Chinese consulate in New York City, Angwang allegedly passed on police information, reported on the activities of Chinese citizens in the city, and probed the Tibetan community to recruit intelligence sources, according to the charges.
Per court documents, Angwang allegedly told his “handler” at the consulate that he wanted to be promoted through the NYPD’s ranks so he could “bring glory to China.” He reportedly also told them that officials in Beijing “should be happy…because you have stretched your reach into the police.”
The fraud, false statements and obstruction charges against Angwang stem from his time as a reservist in the US Army, during which he allegedly lied about his ties to the Chinese government.
The case against Angwang comes during a time of increased US suspicion of China’s possible state activities within America. The State Department recently imposed new restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the US, requiring them to seek approval before visiting university campuses and holding certain cultural events. The crackdown came after a number of Chinese researchers were arrested this summer for allegedly hiding their links to their country’s military, and after the US closed the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas.
Beijing has vocally denied the spying accusations, and imposed reciprocal restrictions on American diplomats in China earlier this month.
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