Martin Purbrick

Martin Purbrick

Senior Advisor

Biography

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 north east 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.

Publications

Worsening US-China relationship could have global impact

A crisis of interdependence could be leading to the end of the era of globalisation With the “decoupling” of areas of economic activity by the USA and China, there are concerns that the world is entering a crisis of interdependence and even the end of

Trading with China in a post-Covid world

Most of the world has moved on from the huge loss of life and economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, but China remains relentlessly fixated on a policy of “Dynamic Zero Covid”. The Asia Scotland Institute held a panel discussion on 23 June for