Card Zen’s lawyers call for charges against 612 Fund trustees to be dismissed
The defence argues that the cardinal and the other trustees of the humanitarian agency did not set up a society. For the prosecution, the Fund was political and had to register. Protestant clergyman is sentenced to more than a year in prison for "sedition".
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The trial of Card Joseph Zen Ze-kiun and five well-known pro-democracy advocates resumed today.
The defendants are accused of improperly registering a humanitarian fund of which they were the trustees.
For their legal team, the prosecution’s case should be dismissed because the trustees did not have reciprocal rights and obligations, so they did not form a society, the Ming Pao newspaper reported.
On 11 May, police arrested the cardinal and his co-defendants for "collusion" with foreign forces, one of the most serious offences under a draconian security law imposed in the summer of 2020 by mainland China.
Short of a conviction under that law, the defendants face a maximum fine of US$ 1,750.
In addition to Hong Kong’s 90-year-old archbishop emeritus, charged are renowned lawyer Margaret Ng, singer-activist Denise Ho, former Legislative Council Member Cyd Ho, academic Hui Po-keung, and activist Sze Ching-wee.
Until it was shut down about a year ago, the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund helped thousands of pro-democracy protesters involved in the 2019 protests.
The defendants pleaded not guilty. Their lawyers claim that the charity was not required to register under the Societies Ordinance.
At the hearing on 26 October, the prosecution argued instead that the fund was political in nature, and had to register with the authorities.
Meanwhile, a Protestant clergyman was sentenced to more than one year in prison for sedition under a colonial-era law.
On 4 January, Rev Garry Pang Moon-yuen, 59, criticised Judge Amy Chan, who was presiding over the trial of pro-democracy activist Chow Hang-tung. “You have lost your conscience,” he reportedly told her. Chow was eventually convicted.