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NYC cop charged with spying for China

A New York City cop has been arrested by federal authorities on espionage charges after allegedly spying on ethnic Tibetans in the U.S. and using “his official position in the NYPD to provide [Chinese] Consulate officials access to senior NYPD officials through invitations to official NYPD events,” where recruitment by Chinese spies could begin against New York City police.

“The 33-year-old cop, Baimadajie Angwang, who was born in the autonomous region of Tibet in China, allegedly reported to officials at the Chinese consulate in New York on the activities of other Tibetans in the New York area,” says CNBC.

Angwang first came to the U.S. via a cultural exchange program and overstayed his visa, later asking for asylum, claiming he was tortured by the Beijing regime because of his Tibetan heritage, said CNBC.

The Dalai Lama has said that 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed under Chinese Communist rule. Human rights advocates have complained about arbitrary arrests of Tibetans by Chinese authorities, forced labor, torture, forced sterilizations and abortions. An estimated 1,000 Tibetans have disappeared in Chinese jails in the last decade.

Angwang is also a member of the U.S. Army Reserves, and while it’s unclear if the charges include his duties with the Army, he maintained a “secret” clearance and, at the very least, lied about his close contacts with Chinese officials in order to obtain his security clearance.

“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,” said FBI Assistant Director Kohler.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York says that the cop-turned-spy used his official position in the police department to recruit others to spy for the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

“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,” stated NYPD Commissioner Shea.  “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.”

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers warned that state and local officials need to be more aware as the PRC has tried to infiltrate every level of American society, and that police departments are of particular interest to Chinese spy agencies.

“Our police departments provide for our public safety and are often the first line of defense against the national security threats our country faces,” he said. “We will continue to work with our state and local partners to protect our nation’s great police departments.”

The criminal complaint unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charged Angwang with acting as an illegal agent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as well as committing wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of 55 years in jail.

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