NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - An NYPD officer is in federal custody, facing a variety of charges after being accused of acting as an intelligence agent of the Chinese government.
According to prosecutors, Baimadajie Angwang, 33, was in regular contact with a member of the Chinese consulate, who authorities allege was his "handler."
Web Extra: Read the complaint (.pdf)
Angwang worked at the 111th precinct in Bayside as a member of the community affairs unit. He's accused of spying for the Chinese government.
The FBI says he worked alongside two officials at the Chinese consulate in New York. Investigators have tapes of their conversations, and other communications.
Federal prosecutors says Angwang provided intelligence on Tibetans living in New York City and throughout the area in exchange for money for at least two years. He's also accused of offering those Chinese officials access to senior NYPD personnel.
Angwang, a Tibetan native himself, lives with his wife and daughter in Williston Park, Long Island.
His neighbors are in disbelief, CBS2's Ali Bauman reported.
"It was really a surprise becuase I never thought he was a spy," one neighbor said.
"He always said hi. Very social. Very outgoing," said Ainsey Chandy. "He was very nice to us."
"It's hard to believe. You don't see this around here. A spy?" said Ralph Bonelli.
Angwang is also charged with wire fraud. The criminal complaint alleges he received nearly $120,000 by wire transfer from the People's Republic of China since 2016.
Prosecutors believe Angwang, "used his official position in the NYPD to provide [Chinese] Consulate officials access to senior NYPD officials through invitations to official NYPD events," and provided the Chinese government with, "potential ethnic Tibetan intelligence sources in the New York metropolitan area."
Members of the Tibetan community in Queens told CBS2's Kevin Rincon they're not surprised.
"Communist China never give a chance to a Tibetan people... this is the idea of Communist China," one person said.
"They have thousands of Tibetans living here in New York and New Jersey, you know, and we never create any problems," said another.
Watch Kevin Rincon's Report:
"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," said Police Commissioner Dermot 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."
China called the allegations a "pure fabrication," saying they're part of a U.S. plot to smear Chinese diplomats in the United States.
Angwang served five years in the Marines and most recently served as a reservist with the U.S. Army as a staff sergeant at Fort Dix in New Jersey. He collected several awards and held a secret level security clearance.
He's considered a flight risk. His parents are retired members of the government and his brother serves the Chinese army.
He faces up to 55 years in prison if convicted.
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