A New York City Police Department officer was arrested for spying on the Tibetan community in New York on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, according to a Monday press release from the Department of Justice.
Thirty-three-year-old Baimadajie Angwang, a community affairs officer in Queens and a U.S. Army reservist, is charged with acting as an illegal foreign agent for the CCP, as well as committing wire fraud and issuing multiple false statements. Angwang is a Tibetan native and a naturalized American citizen.
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Top DOJ officials warned on Monday that Chinese covert operations can occur within local law enforcement agencies.
"State and local officials should be aware that they are not immune to the threat of Chinese espionage," said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers. "According to the allegations, the Chinese government recruited and directed a U.S. citizen and member of our nation's largest law enforcement department to further its intelligence gathering and repression of Chinese abroad."
According to the press release, Angwang regularly monitored the activity of Tibetans living in New York and worked closely with Chinese consulate officials to identify and suppress political opponents of Xi Jinping's regime inside the United States. He also provided consulate officials access to high-level NYPD officers through consular events and programming.
The police officer reportedly spied for the CCP to bring "glory to China." Since 1951, Angwang's home region of Tibet has been occupied by Chinese forces, which have committed brutal atrocities and limited the free practice of Tibetan culture.
Angwang could face up to 55 years in prison if convicted.
"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 Alan E. Kohler Jr., assistant director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division.