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Man accused of spying for Hong Kong found dead in park outside London

Charged with national security offences, the deceased appeared along with two other suspects charged with national security offences, at the Westminister Magistrates' Court on May 13. The court granted bail to all three suspects, however, restricting their international travel.
Last Updated : 22 May 2024, 12:24 IST
Last Updated : 22 May 2024, 12:24 IST

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Thames Valley police in UK found the body of a man facing charges for spying for Hong Kong intelligence services, in a park outside of London recently. A report by CNN quoting the police statement identified the deceased to be the 37-year-old Matthew Trickett.

Charged with national security offences, the deceased appeared along with two other suspects charged with national security offences, at the Westminister Magistrates' Court on May 13. The court granted bail to all three suspects but restricted their international travel.

According to media reports, Trickett and the two other men were allegedly accused of undertaking acts of information gathering, surveillance and deception that were 'likely to materially assist a foreign intelligence service between December 20, 2023, and May 2, 2024'.

Police also said that on May 1, the three allegedly 'forced entry', breaking into a UK residential address. While court granted them bail, the three men were barred from traveling internationally with District Judge Louisa Cieciora saying they must abide by a night time curfew and report weekly to their local police contact.

The Chinese Embassy in the UK and Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee condemned and rejected the accusations.

CNN quoted Lee as saying that one of the men charged was the office manager of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London, but did not directly address a question over whether he was involved in surveillance of Hong Kong dissidents in the UK.

Hong Kong’s Economic and Trade Office exists to facilitate cultural and economic interactions with people and businesses in the UK, added Lee, who is also the city’s former security chief. “Any attempt to make unwarranted accusations against the Hong Kong government is unacceptable,” said Lee.

Meanwhile, Thames police said, “Trickett was on court bail, awaiting court proceedings, which required him to register at a police station regularly." However, days after he was granted bail, a person in the park at Maidenhead, Berkshire, west of London, found Trickett's body in the area on Sunday, according to the police.

"We’re mourning the loss of a much-loved son, brother and family man,” Trickett’s family told British newspaper The Times in a statement.

Relations between Hong Kong and its former colonial ruler Britain have soured in recent years following mass pro-democracy protests in the Chinese city in 2019 and 2020.

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Published 22 May 2024, 12:24 IST

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