A U.S. Army Reservist and New York City Police Department officer charged with spying for the Chinese Communist Party in the United States will stand trial in September, a court decided on Wednesday.
According to the Department of Justice, Baimadajie Angwang, 35, was arrested in 2020 and charged with acting as an illegal agent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), committing wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding.
Angwang was a Marine Corps veteran and active U.S. Army Reservist with “secret” level security clearance with the Department of Defense.
NY Daily News reported that Angwang’s trial begins on Sept. 12. If convicted, the Chinese spy could be sentenced to a maximum of 55 years imprisonment.
Since 2014, the DOJ said that Angwang acted under the direction of the Chinese Communist Party, reporting on the activities of Chinese citizens in New York and identifying potential intelligence sources. Angwang also gave Chinese Communist Party officials access to senior NYPD officials through event invitations.
Angwang worked directly for a Chinese official associated with the “China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture,” which the DOJ described as a division responsible for “neutralizing potential opponents of the PRC and co-opting ethnic Chinese individuals living outside the PRC.”
Angwang told his Chinese Communist Party handler that he wanted to bring “glory to China” by getting a promotion within the NYPD, adding that Beijing “should be happy . . . because [China has] stretched [its] reach into the police.”
Then-NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the Chinese spy “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.”
The Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the time, John C. Demers, warned that “state and local officials should be aware that they are not immune to the threat of Chinese espionage.”
“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,” Alan E. Kohler, Jr., Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, said at the time. “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.”
Earlier this year, the DOJ announced that another Chinese spy, Sun Hoi Ying, 45, acted as an agent for the Chinese Communist Party in the United States from at least February 2017 to February 2022. The spy tracked down so-called “fugitives” and pressured them to return to the People’s Republic of China as part of a global Chinese plot dubbed “Operation Fox Hunt.”