Death of former UK marine Matthew Trickett charged with spying for Hong Kong sends shockwaves through city, officials refuse to comment on ‘speculation’

Death of former UK marine Matthew Trickett charged with spying for Hong Kong sends shockwaves through city, officials refuse to comment on ‘speculation’

The unexplained death of a former British Royal Marine accused of spying for Hong Kong has reverberated through the city, with his family asking for privacy and an official refusing to comment on “speculation” over the role of the financial hub’s trade promotion office in the ongoing espionage case.

Matthew Trickett, a Home Office immigration officer, was found dead in a park in Maidenhead, Berkshire, on Sunday, according to Thames Valley Police, who said on Tuesday they were treating the death as “unexplained”.

The death of the 37-year-old is being investigated by the professional standards department of the local police force, which is seeking information from the public.

Trickett was bailed by a court last week along with Peter Wai Chi-leung, 38, and Bill Yuen Chung-biu, 63, pending their next court appearance, scheduled to take place on Friday.

Protestors place photos of Peter Wai (left), Bill Yuen (centre) and Matthew Trickett (right) outside the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London. Photo: Reuters

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

The high-profile case has prompted questions about the work of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London, where Yuen serves as an office manager.

On Hong Kong’s Reddit-like forum LIHKG, two posts covering the overnight breaking news had 754 and 428 upvotes respectively as of Wednesday morning, as speculation grew about what exactly happened.

“Only the dead can keep secrets,” several users commented.

Trickett’s family asked for privacy in a statement quoted by British media.

“We are mourning the loss of a much-loved son, brother, and family member. We would be grateful if the press would respect our privacy at this difficult time and refrain from intruding on our grief,” the family said.

Trickett’s solicitor, Julian Hayes, said that the defence team was “naturally shocked” at the news and was supporting the family “as best we can”.

Police have cordoned the area where Matthew Trickett was found dead. Photo: AP

He declined to provide further comments as investigations were ongoing.

In Hong Kong, acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Bernard Chan Pak-li refused to comment on “rumours” circulating online regarding the spying case.

“I will not comment here on some rumours, speculation, or even some nonsense accusations that are being circulated or posted on the internet,” said Chan, referring to details related to the Economic and Trade Office in London.

He emphasised that the role of the trade offices was to liaise with different members of the local communities they were based in to boost the city’s relations with these respective regions in terms of commerce, trade, investment, and arts and culture.

“Going ahead, our colleagues at the Economic and Trade Offices will continue to carry out their duties to promote Hong Kong’s unique advantages and tell good Hong Kong stories fearlessly, without bias and legally,” he said.

The Hong Kong government previously said it was requesting more details from the British consulate in the city.



Read More

Leave a Reply