Williston Park man raises racism as factor in spying charge

Williston Park man raises racism as factor in spying charge
Part of the charges that were brought against a member of the NYPD and Williston Park resident that were dropped in January by federal prosecutors. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice)

Baimadije Angwang, a Williston Park resident and NYPD officer who had charges of supplying Chinese officials with information on Tibetans living in the United States dropped by federal prosecutors in January, said in a recent interview with Newsday he was a target of prosecutors suspicious of anyone with connections to China. 

“So my question is, is it racially motivated? Is it abusing power?” “Angwang said. “Those are the questions I think they should answer.”

Angwang, a 36-year-old Tibetan native who now lives in Nassau County, was charged in September 2020 with acting as an illegal agent of the People’s Republic of China, committing wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding, according to the criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District. 

U.S. District Judge Eric R. Komitee dropped the charges against Angwang after federal prosecutors asked to dismiss the indictment against him.

Angwang had been out on $2 million bond since February 2021 after spending six months at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn which also included solitary confinement.

Angwang’s arrest occurred during the China Initiative, a program started in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump aimed at countering Beijing’s theft of American Intellectual Property, which President Joe Biden’s administration ended last year.

John Carman, Angwang’s lawyer, told the New York Post when his charges were dropped the prosecutors have avoided explaining why.

“The truth is that they are hiding behind CIPA [the Classified Information Procedures Act] in an effort to give the impression that this was a legitimate prosecution, which it was not,” Carman told the Post. “Mr. Angwang is a great American who served his country in combat in Afghanistan and our government repaid him by treating him like he was the leader of the Taliban.” 

Carman told Newsday the government acknowledged there was no evidence that Angwang gave sensitive information to a member of the Chinese embassy.

“It is 100% clear and uncontroverted that he never even mentioned to this supposed intelligence-asset handler that he had an affiliation with the United States Marine Corps,” Carman said. “He never mentioned the fact that he was an active member of the Army Reserves, and these are the types of things that an intelligence asset who was trying to be of value to a foreign power would obviously put in play. There is no question that that did not happen.”

Tibet is an autonomous region in China, historically home to ethnic Tibetans and the spiritual home of Tibetan Buddhism. Since 1951, when China occupied Tibet, a Tibetan independence movement for political separation from China has been present throughout the region, according to the documents.

Thousands of ethnic Tibetans were believed to have been killed during periods of martial law and repression under Chinese occupation, according to court documents.

Angwang was assigned to the 111th Precinct in northeast Queens and served as a patrol officer and a member of the Bayside precinct’s crime prevention team. He was also a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve stationed in Fort Dix, N.J.

Angwang remains on paid leave from the NYPD.

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