Trial set for alleged Hong Kong spy ring accused of targeting dissidents in UK

Chung Biu Yuen and Chi Leung Wai were charged along with ex-Royal Marine Matthew Trickett (ES Composite)
Chung Biu Yuen and Chi Leung Wai were charged along with ex-Royal Marine Matthew Trickett (ES Composite)

A UK Border Force agent and a retired police officer are set to stand trial next year on allegations they were spying for Hong Kong on British soil.

Chi Leung Wai, 38, and Chung Biu Yuen, 63, are accused of being involved in surveillance and “hostile” reconnaissance against critics of the Hong Kong authorities.

They were charged alongside ex-Royal Marine Matthew Trickett, 37, a private investigator from Maidenhead, Berkshire who was found dead last week.

Thames Valley Police are investigating Trickett’s “unexplained” death in a Maidenhead park, which came days after he had been set free on bail at the magistrates court.

The Crown Prosecution Service applied for him to be held in custody for his own safety, after a previous suicide attempt and statements about self-harm. But the District Judge agreed to bail with conditions including reporting regularly to police.

At the Old Bailey, Trickett’s death was confirmed to Mr Justice Jeremy Baker as the charge against him was formally discontinued.

“As has been widely reported, Mr Trickett died on May 19 this year”, said prosecutor Alistair Richardson.

“The cause of death is currently given as unexplained. The death has been confirmed by the coroner.

“On May 21, the CPS notified the court it was discontinuing proceedings against him for obvious reasons.”

Wai, who is known as Peter, is a volunteer officer for City of London Police and also works as a UK Border Force officer at Heathrow Airport.

He has been charged with assisting a foreign intelligence service and foreign interference, under the National Security Act 2023.

Yeun – known as Billy - is a retired Hong Kong police officer who now works as office manager at the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office in London.

They are accused of carrying out surveillance operations in the UK on behalf of Hong Kong authorities, allegedly targeted at dissidents of the foreign regime.

It is said a home of one of the alleged targets was broken into on May 1 this year.

The judge set the trial of Wai, of Shellfield Close, Staines-upon-Thames, and Yuen, of Rosebery Place, Hackney for February 10 next year at Kingston crown court.

Matthew Trickett (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
Matthew Trickett (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

They are due to return to the Old Bailey on October 25 to enter pleas to the charges.

The defendants were set free again on bail with a 10pm to 5am curfew, conditions they report weekly to their local police station, do not travel internationally and informing police of devices used to access the internet.

They are also banned from contacting a list of name individuals said to be connected to the case.