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Feds to drop charges against NYPD officer accused of being spy for China

Tim Drivas Photography/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have asked a judge to dismiss criminal charges against an NYPD officer and Army reservist who had been charged with being a Chinese agent.

“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 dismiss the charges “in the interests of justice” for Baimadajie Angwang.

The filing did not provide any details on the additional information. The judge on Tuesday ordered the parties to appear Thursday morning.

Angwang was charged by the Justice Department in September 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.

At the time, Alan Kohler, the assistant director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, wrote, “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.”

Angwang is an ethnic Tibetan who sought asylum in the United States on the basis he had been arrested and tortured in China partly due to this 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,” defense attorney John F. Carman said. “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.”

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