Cardinal found guilty of failing to register protest fund

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Cardinal found guilty of failing to register protest fund

HONG KONG : One of Asia's most senior Roman Catholic clergymen, Cardinal Joseph Zen, 90, was found guilty of failing to register a now-disbanded fund for pro-democracy protesters and fined HK$4,000 US $512 on Friday November 25 by a Hong Kong court.

The May arrest of Zen and four others by the city's national security police 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.

Principal Magistrate Ada Yim said the fund had political objectives and therefore it was not established solely for charitable purposes. 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 been a staunch advocate for democratic rights and freedoms and a critic of the Chinese Communist Party, stressed that the fund had a goal to help people in need.