The Asia Scotland Institute announces the appointment of Martin Purbrick in succession to Doug Cook OBE following the latter’s decision to take up residence in France.

Roddy Gow OBE, Chairman and Founder said “Doug Cook has achieved a great deal since joining us and by accelerating our use of social media and mounting a programme of webinars has helped overcome the many challenges of the Covid pandemic. He will be much missed”.

We interviewed a number of individuals and are delighted to welcome Martin as our new Director who will take over from Doug. Martin brings 32 years of experience working in Asia, where he lived in Hong Kong and Singapore, before returning this year to his native Scotland with his wife and family. A graduate of Edinburgh University with a Master of Arts degree in history and politics, he has also completed a Master of Letters degree in Terrorism Studies at St Andrew’s University. From December 1988 to January 2000 he served with the Royal Hong Kong Police, mainly in political and criminal intelligence roles. His success there led to roles in corporate intelligence with Intel Corporation and the Hong Kong Jockey Club before joining McKinsey & Company in 2004, still based in Hong Kong and Singapore but with a global role as Director of Security. From 2009 to 2020 he was Director of Security & Integrity at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which he now assists as a consultant as a part of his portfolio of activities. 

“Martin possesses a unique set of contacts and experiences which will help strengthen the Asia Scotland Institute’s connections and networks in Asia combined with a particular focus on many of the key challenges facing global markets and companies. All of these he will bring us as we embark on the next stage of our growth” said Roddy Gow.

Martin returned to Scotland in 2020 after 32 years living and working in Asia. He has deep experience working in China having spent most of his time in the region based in Hong Kong.  His former roles were Director of Security & Integrity for the Hong Kong Jockey Club (2009 to 2020), Director of Security & Travel Safety for McKinsey & Company (2004 to 2009), research and intelligence for the Hong Kong Jockey Club (2001 to 2004), corporate investigations for Intel Corporation (2000), and the Royal Hong Kong Police (1988 to 2000).

As a Director with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Martin reported to the CEO and was part of the core team that designed, built, and opened the first new racecourse in China since before the 1949 Revolution. The large facility, located northeast of Guangzhou, was built in cooperation with the Guangdong Provincial authorities and the Beijing Central People’s Government, which provided insight into the operations of PRC government at Provincial as well as State Council level.

Martin established the global security function for McKinsey & Company, and due to the shifting balance of business to Asia remained based in the region so that he could maintain a strong focus on issues relating to the region and especially China.

Prior to McKinsey, Martin spent three years with the Hong Kong Jockey Club as Executive Manager responsible for creating a research and intelligence team. This followed his brief stint as Asia Investigations Manager with Intel Corporation working against illegally sold computer processors and combatting theft of Intel products largely in China.

In the Royal Hong Kong Police (RHKP), Martin served in Special Branch focussed on counter-terrorism as well as illegal arms dealing.  In the late 1980s and early 1990s, arms sales from China were an international problem as the People’s Liberation Army was selling a wide range of weapons and equipment to any buyers in order to raise funding during the period of economic restructuring initiated by Deng Xiaoping. Martin worked in collaboration with friendly overseas agencies investigating multiple major illegal arms sales from PRC companies that breached United Nations as well as US and UK sanctions. Martin’s next role in the RHKP was in the Criminal Intelligence Bureau, managing intelligence research and analysis relating to triad societies and organised crime, largely connected to business in China. His final posting was in the Commercial Crime Bureau investigating major fraud cases, most of which involved the growing business with China in the late 1990s.

Martin has a Master of Arts (MA Hons) degree in Politics and Modern History from the University of Edinburgh (1988) and a Master of Letters (MLitt) degree in Terrorism Studies from the University of St. Andrews (2016). 

Martin writes regularly on the subject of China, with multiple articles published by the Asian Affairs journal, as well as several in Ming Pao, a highly regarded broadsheet newspaper in Hong Kong (links to articles are below).

“US policy towards the China Dream: The Thucydides Trap and the 100 Year Marathon”, Ming Pao, 23 August 2020  Ming Pao News

​”Hong Kong: The torn city”, Asian Affairs, July 2020​

Book Review: “Chinese Communist Espionage: An intelligence primer”, by Peter Mattis and Matthew Brazil, Naval Institute Press, Asian Affairs, July 2020

As silence is imposed, freedom is a whisper in Hong Kong, Asian Affairs weblog, 6 July 2020

What is terrorism? Ming Pao, 22 March 2020副刊/article/20200322/s00005/1584815434077/周日話題-何謂恐怖主義  

Escaping Hong Kong’s Catch-22, Ming Pao, 1 December 2019.副刊/article/20191201/s00005/1575135986704/escaping-hong-kong-s-catch-22

A report of the 2019 Hong Kong protests, Asian Affairs, October 2019.

Patriotic Chinese triads and secret societies: From the Imperial Dynasties, to Nationalism, and Communism, Asian Affairs, July 2019.
Pirates of the South China Seas, Asian Affairs, February 2018.

Maintaining a unitary state: Counter-terrorism, separatism, and extremism in Xinjiang and China, Asian Affairs, May 2017.

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