Accused Spy Found Dead in Park

UK man Matthew Tricket was one of 3 men charged with spying for Hong Kong earlier this month
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 24, 2024 3:18 AM CDT
UK Man Accused of Spying for Hong Kong Found Dead in Park
Police stand next to a black forensic tent in Grenfell Park, Tuesday May 21, 2024, in Maidenhead, England.   (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)

A man accused of assisting Hong Kong authorities gather intelligence in the United Kingdom was found dead over the weekend, police said. Matthew Trickett, 37, was found dead in a park in Maidenhead, west of London, on Sunday afternoon, police said. They termed the death "unexplained" and were investigating. Trickett was one of three men charged earlier this month with agreeing to engage in information gathering, surveillance, and acts of deception that were likely to materially assist the Hong Kong intelligence service from late 2023 to May 2. Prosecutors also alleged that the men forced entry into a UK residential address on May 1.

At a hearing last week, Prosecutor Kashif Malik had asked that Trickett be held in custody for his own welfare because he attempted suicide after he was charged. The three defendants were bailed and were due to appear Friday at London's Central Criminal Court. No one has entered a plea. British media said Trickett was formerly a Royal Marine who recently worked as a Home Office immigration enforcement officer, the AP reports. He was also reportedly the director of a security consultancy. He was charged along with Chi Leung (Peter) Wai, 38, and Chung Biu Yuen, 63. The men appeared at a brief court hearing to confirm their identities on May 13.

Hong Kong authorities have confirmed that Yuen was the office manager of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London.

  • The spying charges came amid simmering tensions between Britain and China. UK officials have been increasingly vocal in warning about security threats from Beijing, and recently accused China of being behind a string of cyberespionage operations targeting politicians and Britain's election watchdog.
  • More than 100,000 Hong Kongers have moved to the UK since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law triggered by the huge pro-democracy protests in 2019. Britain's government has established a fast-track immigration route for the migrants, many of whom want to settle in the UK because of dwindling civil liberties in their home city.
  • Rights groups have warned that Hong Kongers who have moved to Britain continue to face "transnational repression" by supporters of the Chinese government.
(More Hong Kong stories.)

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