A federal appeals court has denied bail to a New York City police officer from Williston Park accused of being an agent of China, upholding a ruling by a lower federal district court judge.
The officer, Baimadajie Angwang, 33, a native of Tibet, was ordered detained without bail as a risk of flight to China by U.S. District Judge Eric Komitee in Brooklyn in October.
Angwang, a Marine veteran who was in the Army Reserve, appealed the bail denial order to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
In a ruling issued Friday, a three-judge appeals panel said that Komitee did not err in refusing to release Angwang on bail. In a written decision, the court said, "We find no clear error in the district court’s conclusion that, on balance, the aggravating factors — including Angwang’s strong ties to the PRC [China], his access to significant financial resources, and the seriousness, of the allegations against him — render Angwang a flight risk."
Angwang's attorney, John Carman of Garden City, decried the decision.
"The day will come when Mr. Angwang’s arrest and pretrial detention will be exposed for the horrific miscarriage of justice that it is," Carman said in a prepared statement. "Sadly, the China hysteria that infected our politics has spread to our criminal justice system. This is nothing less than 21st century McCarthyism. "
John Marzulli, the spokesman for Eastern District federal prosecutors, declined to comment.
Angwang, who worked in the 111th Precinct in Bayside and was suspended by the department, was charged with four felonies: acting as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the United States government, wire fraud, making false statements and obstruction of an officials proceeding.
Carman had argued before the appeals judge that his client’s ties to the United States were very strong, that he risked losing his naturalized citizenship if he fled, that Komitee had made technical errors in his denial of bail, and that his client probably faced no more than probation or up to 4 years in prison if he were convicted since Angwang was not accused of spying or espionage.
Federal prosecutors disputed the defense assertion that Angwang faced a minimal sentence if convicted, saying that he could face decades in prison.
The prosecutors said Angwang had apparently more loyalty to China than his fellow Tibetans, informing on the government about dissidents in the Tibetan community in the United States and who might be susceptible to recruitment to work for the Chinese government.
At one point, the prosecutors said, Angwang was taped telling his handler at the Chinese consulate in New York that he sought to be promoted in the New York Police Department "to assist the PRC and bring ‘glory to China.’ "