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Matthew Trickett, UK man accused of spying for Hong Kong, found dead in park


A former member of the UK’s Royal Marines, bailed by a court last week along with two Hongkongers on spying charges, has been found dead, British police said on Tuesday.

Matthew Trickett, 37, was found dead in a park in Maidenhead, west of London, on Sunday following a report by a member of the public, Thames Valley Police said.

A police cordon remained in place in Grenfell Park late Tuesday, with several officers stationed next to a black forensics tent located close to a children’s playground.

“An investigation is ongoing into the death, which is currently being treated as unexplained,” the police force said in a statement. “A postmortem will be conducted in due course.”

Grenfell Park in Maidenhead, England, west of London, where Matthew Trickett was found dead. Photo: PA via AP

Police were seeking information from the public, especially “anyone who was in Grenfell Park on Sunday afternoon prior to 5.15pm”.

Trickett, from southeast England, was one of three men accused in the Hong Kong-linked spy case.

He was formerly employed by the UK Border Force at Heathrow Airport, before joining Home Office Immigration Enforcement on February 21, 2024.

He was also the director of MTR Consultancy, a security firm formed in April 2021.

He was released on bail along with Peter Wai Chi-leung, 38, and Bill Yuen Chung-biu, 63, pending their next court appearance, scheduled to take place on Friday.

Yuen was an office manager at the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London.

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Hong Kong leader John Lee hits out at ‘unwarranted’ spy allegations by UK authorities

Hong Kong leader John Lee hits out at ‘unwarranted’ spy allegations by UK authorities

Trickett’s lawyer, Julian Hayes, said he was “shocked” at Tuesday’s news and was supporting Trickett’s family. He declined to comment, because investigations were ongoing.

The three were charged with assisting a foreign intelligence service and with foreign interference, in violation of the 2023 National Security Act.

The act came into force in December and is designed to bolster UK national security against “hostile activity” targeting the country’s democratic institutions, economy and values.

Police said earlier the “foreign intelligence service” in question was Hong Kong’s.

As part of the UK police investigation, 11 people were taken into custody this month.

The case has fuelled a diplomatic row between Britain and China. Britain’s foreign ministry summoned the Chinese ambassador on May 14 to state that espionage and cyberattacks were not acceptable on British soil.

Bill Yuen appeared in Westminster Magistrates’ Court in central London last Monday. Photo: PA via AP

China’s foreign affairs commissioner in its territory of Hong Kong “strongly condemned” Britain for “cooking up charges” and accused it of a “vicious intention to interfere” in Hong Kong’s affairs.

The office warned that Britain would receive “China’s firm and strong retaliation”.

The UK has been outspoken about the Hong Kong government’s new national security law, which it views as eroding the territory’s rights and freedoms.

Britain has repeatedly denounced the treatment of pro-democracy campaigners in its former colony, and launched a visa scheme to allow Hong Kong residents to come to the UK.

Hong Kong police last year issued a wanted list of eight overseas activists that include former opposition legislator Nathan Law Kwun-chung.

The case involving Trickett comes after two men, one of whom works in the UK parliament, were last month charged with spying for China. They are due to be tried next year.

Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, Reuters and Bloomberg



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