World chaos does have its uses.
~ Winston Yu

Winston Yu is the main antagonist in the Alex Rider novel Snakehead. He is the head director of the titular Snakehead gang and a member of the crime organization SCORPIA.


Winston Yu was born in complete poverty in China as the son of an English businessman and a poor Chinese mother, Gong Li. This is where he got his infatuation of England. Although his father wanted to take his wife back to England, he just left her instead. However, Yu's father told his mother great things about Great Britain, which led to his being named Winston, after former Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.

Gong Li was given the task of raising a single infant and working a poor job at a hotel. She joined the Snakehead crime syndicate to gain more money. She moved to England to give her son Winston a British education, at Harrow School. Whenever something got in the way of her son (a bully, not being the head boy), she would have that person killed "accidentally." Apparently, twelve people died just to make Yu's education possible.

Eventually, Yu found out that his mother was an assassin, but he was grateful for all she had done for him. After graduating from Harrow School and then London University, he joined Sandhurst Military Academy and was commissioned as an officer into the British Army, fighting four tours of duty in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and rising to the rank of Major, but was diagnosed with brittle bone disease and forced to retire. He got a desk job with MI6 but secretly provided classified information to the Snakehead.

At his passing out parade, Second Lieutenant Yu got a grand medal from the Queen for his Army services and as a result, Gong Li died of a heart attack sometime after, due to the shock and gratitude. Winston Yu had his mother's ashes scattered in Buckingham Palace's rose garden by bribing a gardener.

SCORPIA and Alex Rider

He heard of Scorpia being formed and joined. He asked to be recruited and they enrolled him. He presumably trained at Malagosto Island outside Venice and rose up to become a board member.

Winston Yu was present in the 1980 Paris board meeting of SCORPIA, he and others, such as Julia Rothman, met in the city to finalize details and make profit through world corruption. Once everything was settled, Winston Yu became chief executive of SCORPIA alongside fellow leaders Rothman, Max Grendel, Levi Kroll, Zeljan Kurst, Doctor Three, Hideo Mikato, Brendan Chase, Jean Picoq and three others, who died sometime between SCORPIA's inception and the events of Snakehead.

When SCORPIA heard that the Reef Island summit was taking place, they were asked by a representative of the G8 to destroy the Island, as the summit had been timed to rival the G8 conference in Rome. They had to do it in a way that it looked like a natural disaster, so no one would suspect foul play. Winston Yu had his men steal a bomb, Royal Blue, from a Ministry of Defence building outside London and take it down to Thailand. MI6 promptly sent Alex Rider and his previously unknown godfather Ash to investigate.

Alex and Ash were caught by the snakehead while hiding on a smuggling ship heading to Australia. Alex managed to escape and found Yu. He was inputting his DNA into a scanner to activate Royal Blue when the time came. Alex also put his DNA in the scanner and left before Yu could see him. He made it off the ship, but Ash was still trapped on board. After escaping to the mainland and trying to contact MI6, Yu found Alex and knocked him out with his cane.

Alex awoke as a prisoner in Yu's British mansion. He invited the boy to dine on English food in his English dining room. Yu explained his backstory to Alex and told him of his SCORPIA plot. He will plant Royal Blue in a fault line near Reef Island and detonate it, causing a massive tsunami that will obliterate the island, the summit members, and also Northern Australia. He also says that because of the alignment of the moon and sun, the fault line will be at its weakest point in years.

Winston wanted Alex's organs removed as punishment, and sent him to a plastic surgeon working for the snakehead in the Australian jungle. Alex destroyed the clinic, escaped, and then met up with the Australian SAS. Alex and a team of SAS soldiers planned to infiltrate Yu's mining rig, the Dragon Nine, and shut down the bomb before he detonated it.


Alex and the team parachuted onto Dragon Nine. The teen found Yu in a control room, preparing to activate the bomb and destroy the summit. Ben Daniels, an SAS agent who Alex trained with, storms in to Yu's office and guns down an accomplice of his, later revealed to be the traitor Ash.

Winston Yu survived Daniel's attack and he tortured Alex by having the dying Ash tell him about killing Alex's parents. Then Ash died. But the SAS attacked when Winston Yu was going to kill Alex and blew the oil rig up, sending Winston Yu tumbling down a level, which broke his ankles. Upon the destruction of the bomb, which harmlessly explodes deep underwater, the shock of the explosion shatters his bones due to his severe brittle bone disease and died instantly.


  • Unlike Herod Sayle, he does not bear a grudge against England but rather, adores the country despite also being bullied in school.
    • He presents himself as being very Anglophilic, as shown by his taking afternoon tea at the Ritz, fondness for the works of classical composer Edward Elgar and love of British culture in general.
  • He was named after former Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.


           Alex Rider Logo.png  Villains

Criminal Organizations
Zeljan Kurst | Julia Rothman | Winston Yu | Eduardo & Giovanni Grimaldi | Levi Kroll | Brendan Chase | Abdul-Aziz al-Razim | Dr. Three
Yassen Gregorovich | Ash | Julius Grief | Nile | Erik Gunter | Snakehead | Sniper | Anan Sukit | Bill Tanner | Jacko & Quombi | Karl Steiner | Dr. Harold Leibermann

Point Blanc Academy
Dr. Hugo Grief | Julius Grief | Eva Stellenbosch | Walter Baxter

Sayle's Organization
Herod Sayle | Nadia Vole | Mr. Grin

Drevin's Organization
Nikolei Drevin | Kaspar | Force Three | Kolo

McCain's Organization
Reverend Desmond McCain | Myra Bennett | Njenga

Secret Services
Alan Blunt | MI6 | Ethan Brooke | Blake Lewinsky
The Big Circle | Sir Damian Cray | General Sarov | Vladimir Sharkovsky | Conrad | The Gentleman | The Salesman | Franco | Harry Bulman | Fiona Friend | Skoda | Yannis Ariston Xenopolos

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