‘Chinese spy’ Matthew Trickett found dead in London park

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An ex-Royal Marine awaiting trial accused of spying on Hong Kong dissidents has been found dead in a park.

Matthew Trickett, 37, who fought the Taliban and Somali pirates, appeared in court last week.

The Home Office Immigration Enforcement officer was facing two charges under the National Security Act 2023, The Sun reports.

He was due to appear alongside co-defendants Chung Biu Yuen and Chi Leung Wai at the Old Bailey on May 24.

Thames Valley Police have now confirmed he was found dead in Grenfell Park, in Maidenhead, Berks, on Sunday afternoon at around 5.15pm, The Timesreports.

An investigation is ongoing into the death, which is being treated as unexplained.

A police cordon is in place in the park and several officers were stationed on Tuesday evening next to a black forensics tent erected in the centre of the park near to a children’s playground.

More officers were positioned at vantage points and paths around the park, which is near Maidenhead railway station.

In a statement, Mr Trickett’s family said: “We are mourning the loss of a much-loved son, brother, and family member.”

Mr Trickett had been on bail subject to stringent conditions.

Mr Trickett’s solicitor Julian Hayes, senior partner at Berris Law, said: “It has sadly been confirmed by Thames Valley Police that the body found in Grenfell Park, Maidenhead, on Sunday was that of our client Matthew Trickett.

“We are naturally shocked at this news and supporting his family as best we can.

“The death is currently being treated as unexplained by the police and further investigations are still ongoing.”

A local resident said “there were children everywhere” in the Maidenhead park where Trickett was found dead on Sunday.

Tatiana Dioniseva, 30, said: “On Sunday there were so many people here – there were children everywhere.

“It was a bit bizarre because it was sunny – there were children about and then a crime scene over there.”

She said Grenfell Park, which is located close to Maidenhead railway station in Berkshire, was popular, adding: “Usually on Sundays, every bench will literally be taken.

“There are people everywhere – it’s a popular place.”

A Thames Valley Police spokesperson said: “At around 5.15pm on Sunday (19/5) officers attended Grenfell Park, Maidenhead, following a report from a member of the public.

“Formal identification has taken place and we can confirm the man is Matthew Trickett, aged 37, from Maidenhead.

“An investigation is ongoing into the death, which is currently being treated as unexplained.”

Mr Trickett served in the Marines between 2007 and 2013 but was working as an immigration enforcement officer and private investigator.

Chi Leung Wai, 38, also known as Peter Wai, is a UK Border Force officer – based at London Heathrow Airport – and a City of London Police Special Constable.

Retired police officer Yuen, also known as Billy Yuen, is an office manager of Hong Kong’s economic and trade office in London.

The trio were each charged with assisting a foreign intelligence service and with foreign interference.

The Charges

The charge relates to Hong Kong Economic Trade Offices (HKETO) outside the territory.

There are 14 of these outside Hong Kong and China, and seven in China.

The HKETO in London is an extension of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, part of the People’s Republic of China.

In addition to HKETOs, the Hong Kong Government has an office in China’s capital Beijing called the Office of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in Beijing.

The charges followed an investigation involving the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command along with the North East and South East Counter Terrorism Policing Units.

Prosecutor Mr Kashif Malik emphasised this is “not a terrorism case” when the group appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court last Monday.

The three men were released on bail but subject to stringent conditions including curfews between 10pm-5am and reporting at relevant police stations.

They had to surrender their passports, not apply or be in possession of any international travel documents or enter any international travel hubs.

As part of the police investigation, a total of 11 people were detained under section 27 of the National Security Act.

Eight men and a woman were arrested by officers on May 1 in the Yorkshire area, before a man was arrested in London and another man was arrested in the Yorkshire area the following day.

The Met said seven men and one woman were released from custody on or before May 10.

Thames Valley Police have referred themselves to the independent Office for Police Conduct as Mr Trickett’s bail conditions meant he had prior contact with officers.

TVP referred itself to the independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), because Trickett’s bail condition required him to regularly register at a police station.

The IOPC has assessed that referral and decided the matter should be investigated by TVP’s professional standards department.

Mr Trickett 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.

This article originally appeared in The Sun and has been reproduced with permission.

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