Debt recovery by Matthew Trickett sparks espionage case, debtor revealed, associated charity responds

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Matthew Trickett

22nd May 2024 – (London) Three individuals have been charged under the U.K.’s national security laws, including Bill Yuen, the administrative manager of Hong Kong’s Trade Office in London. This case has escalated following the mysterious death of Matthew Trickett, a former U.K. immigration enforcement officer, whose body was found in a park.

Trickett was implicated in a cross-border debt recovery operation amounting to HK$170 million, which allegedly involved harassment of Hongkongers residing in the UK. This operation is believed to have triggered the espionage accusations. The charges detail that from late 2023 to early May 2024, the accused collaborated with Hong Kong intelligence to track and gather intelligence on Hong Kong nationals in the U.K., including high-profile activists such as Nathan Law and Christopher Mung, a former union leader.

According to the prosecution, Trickett and another defendant, Peter Wai, were directed by Cheuk Wing, a retired Hong Kong police officer and a friend of Yuen, to collect information on Monica Kwong, a Hong Kong national allegedly in debt. However, Yuen claims his involvement was limited to being a contact point.

The operation came to light on 13th May, when Trickett, having been granted bail, hurried away from the court, his face shielded from cameras. In early May, Trickett, along with two others, were arrested following an alleged attempt to forcibly enter the home of a British National (Overseas) passport holder who had left Hong Kong in December, suspected of constituting prohibited conduct under the foreign interference offence.

Surveillance operations were conducted by Trickett and Wei at Kwong’s residence, where Trickett was eventually arrested. Police discovered evidence on Trickett’s phone indicating surveillance of notable figures and his communications with Yuen.

Further investigation into the financial aspects of the case revealed that Kwong had been accused by “Hong Kong Authorities” of transferring HK$140 million from corporate accounts and stealing over HK$20 million in assets, totalling approximately HK$170 million. Court records in Hong Kong showed that in December 2023, legal actions had been initiated against Kwong by the companies involved.

The creditor in this case has been identified as Tina Zou, a director at both an investment company and TWT Global, and the sole shareholder of TWT Global. Zou, who established TWT Global in Sydney in 2007 and expanded her investment business to Beijing in 2008, is known for her cross-national business empire primarily focusing on real estate and investments.

Zou also founded the Bridging Hope Charity Foundation in Hong Kong in 2019, with a Beijing-based organisation of the same name focusing on mental health.