The Department of Justice said Monday that an NYPD officer had been arrested and charged with allegedly acting as an "illegal agent" for the Chinese government.
In a statement released Monday, the DOJ said that in addition to illegal agent charges, 33-year-old Baimadajie Angwang has also been charged with committing wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding.
The DOJ alleges that Angwang was providing information about Chinese citizens in the New York area to the government of the People's Republic of China. He was also allegedly "developing intelligence sources within the Tibetan community."
According to Scripps station WPIX in New York, Angwang is a Tibetan native and resident of Long Island. He worked in the NYPD's 111th precinct in Queens and was also employed by the U.S. Army Reserve as a staff sergeant.
Angwang initially arrived in the U.S. on a cultural exchange visa. Once that visa was renewed, he overstayed the length and later claimed asylum "on the basis that he had allegedly been arrested and tortured" in China due to his Tibetan heritage.
A complaint alleges that Angwang has worked under the control of the Chinese government since 2014. He allegedly told his Chinese government handler that he wanted to be promoted within the NYPD "so that he could assist the PRC and bring 'glory to China.'"
"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. "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."
"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. This type of conduct simply cannot be tolerated," said Alan E. Kohler, Jr., Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division. "This case serves as yet another reminder that China represents the biggest counterintelligence threat to the United States and that the FBI and our partners will be aggressive in investigating and stopping such activities within our nation."
If convicted, Angwang faces a maximum of 55 years in prison.