Charges dismissed against NYPD officer accused of spying for China

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Thursday, January 19, 2023
Charges dismissed against NYPD officer accused of spying for China
The case against NYPD officer Baimadajie Angwang accused of working as a foreign agent for China has been dismissed. Lionel Moïse has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A federal judge in Brooklyn granted the government's motion to dismiss the case against Baimadajie Angwang, the NYPD officer who had been accused of acting as an agent of China.

During a brief hearing Thursday, federal prosecutors declined to elaborate on the evidence that led them to move for dismissal, telling the judge that evidence remained classified.

While Angwang had been let out on bail, he was detained at the outset of the case for about six months, which the judge called unfortunate.

Federal prosecutors asked a judge earlier this week to dismiss criminal charges against the NYPD officer and Army reservist.

"Thanks for all the people who trusted me, who believed me since the beginning, my family, my friends, my Marine Corps brothers, my NYPD colleagues, thank you," Angwang said as he left court.

"As a result of our continued investigation, the government obtained additional information bearing on the charges," prosecutors said in a recent court filing, adding that it would "in the interests of justice" to dismiss the indictment against Angwang.

The filing did not specify what the additional information was.

Angwang was charged in 2020 with acting at the "direction and control" of officials operating out of the Chinese consulate in New York to report on Tibetans living in the United States. The indictment referred to two unnamed officials assigned to the department responsible for "neutralizing sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of China."

The charges were based, in part, on dozens of recorded phone calls between Angwang and these officials that prosecutors said were meant to report on the activities of Tibetans in the New York area, assess potential intelligence sources and introduce the Chinese consular officials to senior NYPD officials.

Angwang is an ethnic Tibetan who sought asylum in the United States on the basis he had been arrested and tortured in China due partly to this Tibetan ethnicity.

The defense insisted Angwang's interactions with the two consular officials did "not involve 'direction or control,'" but were meant to establish good relations so Angwang could receive a visa to visit his family.

"Officer Angwang was always confident that this day would come, though he and has family have suffered immeasurably for almost three years. People should know that while he is an ethnic Tibetan, Mr. Angwang is first and foremost a loyal American who served honorably with the Marines and did nothing whatsoever to betray his country," defense attorney John F. Carman said.

Angwang had been suspended from the department with pay during the investigation. It is now possible he could return to the force, his attorney said.

As for if he will take action now that he has been cleared?

"We are looking into that but we've made no decisions," Carman said.

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