Hong Kong officials refrain from commenting on alleged spy’s death in London

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Paul Chan

22nd May 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s financial and commerce officials maintained a reserved stance following the death of Matthew Trickett, a former UK Royal Marines member accused of espionage for Hong Kong’s secret service. Trickett was found deceased in a park in Maidenhead, London, with his identity confirmed by British police this Tuesday.

Financial Secretary , Paul Chan, addressed the media after a session in the Legislative Council on Wednesday, stating the SAR government would not comment on individual cases or related specifics. This came in response to inquiries about whether Trickett’s death might impact the fairness of judicial proceedings.

Meanwhile, Bernard Chan, Acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, dismissed what he termed “ridiculous” online allegations regarding the altered roles of Hong Kong’s overseas trade offices. He clarified that these offices continue to operate strictly within legal bounds and without fear, under the “one country, two systems” framework.

Hong Kong operates 14 trade offices globally, tasked with fostering local contacts with authorities, think tanks, and business sectors to enhance trade ties, attract investments, and promote cultural exchanges. These offices aim to communicate Hong Kong’s advantages and positive narratives internationally.

The discussion around these offices has gained attention following comments by Regina Ip Lau, Executive Council convener, in a recent television interview. Ip noted a shift in the responsibilities of these offices, including monitoring foreign councillors with anti-China sentiments and keeping tabs on exiled dissenters. She argued that similar intelligence activities are likely undertaken by foreign consulates in Hong Kong, questioning the illegality of such practices for Hong Kong’s trade office in the UK.