By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 19: The New York Police Department (NYPD) cop who was charged with spying on Tibetans was released on $2 million bond on Feb. 12 from federal jail after contracting COVID-19, according to Newsday. Baimadajie Angwang (Pema Dhargyal Ngawang) is a naturalized US citizen from Tibet who has been held in the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since he was arrested in September 2020.
A federal magistrate ordered his release after he was fitted with an electronic ankle monitoring device. His attorney John Carman said that the former cop’s release was recorded at 12:45 pm, “Mr. Angwang is free today on the strength of 13 people who believed in him so much that they committed to $ 2 million bond. He is going to enjoy an evening with his wife and daughter.”
The 33-year-old was denied bail in October last year by the US Destrict Judge Eric Komittee, who said that his situation had notably changed this time, citing reasons such as the increase in the proposed bond from $1 million to $2 million, and noting that prosecutors had not opposed bail for a number of other people recently accused of being Chinese agents in an unrelated case.
Magistrate Vera Scanlon in a telephone conference at the federal court in Brooklyn said that Angwang would be confined to his home except for trips to his lawyer and doctors, and could not travel outside the Eastern District. Though not specifically charged with espionage, he is accused of providing his handlers at the Chinese consulate in New York with information on the activities of the Tibetan community in the US. Defense lawyer Carman said that his client was only providing publicly available information to procure better visa terms for himself and other Tibetan nationals.