Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
Free Webinar - Crude Oil Trading 2023 | Thursday, February 9, 2023 | 01:00PM PST Enroll Now

Hong Kong's Cardinal Zen among six fined over fund for protesters

World Nov 25, 2022 05:20AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 

By Jessie Pang

HONG KONG (Reuters) - One of Asia's most senior Roman Catholic clerics, Cardinal Joseph Zen, 90, was found guilty of failing to register a now-disbanded fund for pro-democracy protesters and fined HK$4,000($512) on Friday by a Hong Kong court.

The May arrest of Zen and four others by the city's national security police had triggered criticism from some Western governments, as it was seen to be part of a crackdown on dissent under a sweeping national security law imposed by China.

In her judgment, Principal Magistrate Ada Yim said the fund "had political objectives and thus it was not established solely for charitable purposes".

Four other trustees of the fund, including barrister Margaret Ng, scholar Hui Po-keung, politician Cyd Ho and singer Denise Ho were fined the same amount, while Sze Ching-wee, its secretary, was fined a smaller amount.

Zen, who has long been a staunch advocate of democratic rights and freedoms and a critic of the Chinese Communist Party, stressed that the fund had aimed to help people in need.

"I'm just a Hong Kong citizen who strongly supports providing humanitarian assistance," he told reporters after the verdict.

"Although I'm a religious figure, I hope this (case) won't be associated with our freedom of religion. It's not related."

The six were charged with failing to register the "612 Humanitarian Relief Fund" that helped those arrested during pro-democracy protests in 2019 to pay legal and medical fees. All pleaded not guilty.

The Vatican had expressed concern for the safety of Zen, though it stopped short of explicitly criticising authorities at the time.

On Friday, Yim ruled that the fund was a local society run like a trust fund and the committee members shared common political ideals and goals.

Prosecutor Anthony Chau told the court that requiring the fund to register did not infringe on freedom of association, adding that it had spent most of the donations of more than HK$450 million ($57 million) it received.

"It's the first time ever that anyone had to serve this charge under the societies ordinance for failing to register," said Ng, the lawyer.

The group would take time to decide its next steps as freedom of association in Hong Kong remains "extremely important", she added.

Zen was represented by lawyer Robert Pang, who told the court the fund should not be considered an association or society, arguing that the defendants were not members of a society and had only helped run a fund.

Even after the verdict, authorities could still take further action against Zen and the rest, as police investigate an accusation of "collusion with foreign forces".

(This story has been refiled to change keyword used by media clients and deletes extraneous word in paragraph)

Hong Kong's Cardinal Zen among six fined over fund for protesters
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.
  • Any comment you publish, together with your investing.com profile, will be public on investing.com and may be indexed and available through third party search engines, such as Google.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email