Man facing UK charge for helping Hong Kong’s spy agency found dead

LONDON — A man charged in the U.K. with assisting Hong Kong’s intelligence service has died, police confirmed Tuesday.

Matthew Trickett, 37, was found dead Sunday in Grenfell Park, Maidenhead following a report from a member of the public. Emergency treatment took place but Trickett was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a statement, Thames Valley Police said: “An investigation is ongoing into the death, which is currently being treated as unexplained.”

His family said in a statement to the BBC that they were “mourning the loss of a much-loved son, brother, and family member.”

“We would be grateful if the press would respect our privacy at this difficult time and refrain from intruding on our grief,” they added.

Trickett was a Home Office immigration officer who previously served as a Royal Marine for six years and directed a security firm called MTR Consultancy.

He was charged earlier this month with assisting a foreign intelligence service and foreign interference under the U.K.’s new National Security Act. Chi Leung (Peter) Wai, 38, and Chung Biu Yuen, 63, were also charged.

They were accused of agreeing to undertake information gathering and surveillance “likely to materially influence a foreign intelligence service.” It is also alleged they forced entry into a U.K. residence on May 1.

Trickett had been granted bail until Friday when he was due to appear at the Old Bailey. During last week’s hearing, the prosecution argued Trickett should be kept in custody on the grounds the defendant had attempted to take his own life after being charged.

Thames Valley Police referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct because it was in contact with Trickett who had to regularly report to a police station.