<edit — I removed the picture after some thought>
Yesterday I went to London to go knock on the door of a mysterious individual named Wang Yaohui (aka Mr King) who has been involved with my football club, Birmingham City, for the last three years or so. I went to his house in an attempt to make contact — but more importantly to prove that he was not untouchable.
This isn’t the story of him, or why I went. I’m cutting together some video about that which I’m hoping will be on my YouTube channel tomorrow, pending how long it takes to upload from my poor BT connection.
Instead this is about the “how”.
I’ve seen a lot of sceptical people online trying to figure out how I found the address, because I won’t give a home address out on Twitter. Scepticism is good, and while I’m still not going to give out the home address I’m going to lay out here why it’s not just a case of looking on Google for it.
When trying to find this kind of information, there are two things to bear in mind.
- Data without context is useless
One piece of information I did talk about was his company, UK Wealth Holdings Development Ltd, which is based on the 9th floor of Cavendish Square in Mayfair, London.
As company addresses are freely available on Companies House, I did not have any issue with handing that information out.
Some people went to the Companies House website, or used a paid for credit checking website such as Endole to get details on UWHD with the assumption they’d get everything else from that.
While on the surface that would seem like the thing to do, without understanding the context of how the company is run, one is left with an accountant’s address in Cheshire and a couple of random Chinese names that don’t seem to mean much.
I’ve known about the company some time. I’ve written before about UK Wealth Holdings Development in this article more than 12 months ago.
In that article I explained that while Wang’s name isn’t on the company, the name of a known nominee (Gu Zhongfei) at an address that was linked to some of Mr King’s known companies in Hong Kong were listed as the person in control.
I’d been tipped off to the existence of the company, but without the context I had from other work, it would have been useless.
2. Sometimes you need a bit of offline knowledge
Sometimes, finding things out is more than just putting search terms into Google. While in the UK there are lots of ways to find out public domain information such as the Land Registry, the right to privacy means that it can only be searched in certain ways.
What this means is that while you can search the registry by house address, you can’t search it by name. What this means in effect is that while you can confirm something via the Land Registry, it’s incredibly difficult to make a discovery that way.
Back in the time of Carson, I was given a DVD made by Birmingham International Holdings (as they were called at the time), showing Carson going from his home to watch the game.
It took me hours of watching the video to work out how to find his address — almost Minority Report style. After spending ages on Google Maps trying to match a rooftop to the one I’d seen on the video, I tried another tack.
By identifying the petrol station he filled up his car with and working on the assumption Carson’s chauffeur would have used his local petrol station to do so, I concentrated my rooftop search on a specific area and found a likely house, which I then confirmed with a search on the Land Registry.
The same thing happened this time.
I was given a tip as to roughly where the house was, and told when it had been bought. A search of local real estate websites brought up some possibles, which I then checked against the Land Registry.
Again, while the house wasn’t in Wang Yaohui’s name, it was in the name of a company of his I recognised (Well Faith Shipping), which according to the Hong Kong Company Registry is owned by the same Gu Zhongfei whose name cropped up earlier.
The house in the picture at the top of this article? That’s the one.
I’m still happy to keep the address of the property private. I’m fully aware that I’m responsible for my actions, and while I know the limits of what I will do, I don’t know how far others would go if I told them the address.
I’m also conscious that there was a ridiculous amount of private security in the street around the property, protecting the neighbourhood and that Mr King himself possibly might have some connections that, ahem, would not be wise to cross.