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BREAKING: Hong Kong court convicts Cardinal Zen and 5 others over failing to register protester relief fund as society

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Ninety-year-old Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen and five other pro-democracy figures were found guilty on Friday of failing to register a now-defunct protester relief fund as a society.

Zen, barrister Margaret Ng, ex-lawmaker Cyd Ho, scholar Hui Po-keung, singer-activist Denise Ho, and Sze Ching-wee appeared at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court. The group were trustees and secretaries of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund. Founded in June 2019 at the start of the mass extradition bill protests, it provided financial support for those arrested or injured.

Margaret Ng (centre) at the West Kowloon Law Courts Building on November 25, 2022. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Under the Societies Ordinance, a society must apply for registration or an exemption from registration within one month of its establishment.

The 612 fund announced its decision to shut down last August, after it learned that the company holding its assets, the Alliance for True Democracy Limited, would soon do likewise.

Denise Ho at the West Kowloon Law Courts Building on November 25, 2022. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Zen, Denise Ho, Cyd Ho, Ng, and Hui were arrested in May this year by national security police for another offense. They were reportedly accused of conspiring to collude with foreign powers, an offense under the Beijing-imposed national security law. The five were released on bail and no charges have been laid so far.

Sze was arrested in November on the same charge. He was also granted bail.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and an MSc in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics.

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