Home China Mystery Death Of Briton Accused Of Spying For China Strains Ties

Mystery Death Of Briton Accused Of Spying For China Strains Ties

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China has accused Britain of making false accusations, engaging in “wanton stigmatisation,” and carrying out arbitrary arrests after the unexplained death of a man charged with illegally aiding Hong Kong’s foreign intelligence service.

The foreign ministry office of China (in Hong Kong) has released a statement on its website strongly condemning Britain for what it termed false accusations against Chinese citizens, which it said infringed their lawful rights.

Relations between Beijing and London have been strained since 2019, following China’s extensive national security crackdown after pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

The protests, some of which turned violent, occurred in the former British colony, which was returned to Chinese control in 1997.

Matthew Trickett, 37, a former Royal Marine who worked as an immigration officer and private investigator, was found dead in a park in west London on Sunday.

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He had been granted bail alongside Chung Biu Yuen, 63, an office manager at the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London, and Chi Leung Wai, 38, also known as Peter Wai, who is a UK Border Force officer.

The three men were charged with assisting a foreign intelligence service between December and May. The charges included “agreeing to undertake information gathering, surveillance and acts of deception” in Britain.

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Algernon Yau, met with Britain’s deputy consul-general and urged Britain to “let the public know the truth” about Trickett’s death, according to a statement from Yau’s department on Thursday.

Yuen and Wai, who have not yet entered pleas, were informed by Judge Jeremy Baker that their trial, expected to last five weeks, is set for February. They are scheduled to appear in court next on October 25.

With Inputs From Reuters