Rome Newsroom, 14 December, 2022 / 12:28 pm (ACI Africa).
Cardinal Joseph Zen has filed an appeal with Hong Kong’s High Court following his conviction last month for failing to register a fund that helped pay for the legal fees and medical treatments of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.
The Hong Kong Free Press reported on Dec. 14 that the 90-year-old cardinal and former bishop of Hong Kong filed an appeal of the verdict this week together with four other trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund who were fined about $500 (HK$4,000) each.
Zen’s trial from September to November focused on whether it was necessary for the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund trustees to apply for local society registration between 2019 and 2021.
Magistrate Ada Yim ruled on Nov. 25 that the fund was a “local society” and was subject to its rules. In her judgment, she said that the fund “had political objectives and thus it was not established solely for charitable purposes.”
Following the ruling, Margaret Ng, a lawyer and fund trustee who was convicted with Zen, highlighted that this was the first time that anyone had been convicted under Hong Kong’s Societies Ordinance for failing to register a society and said that the case is important for “freedom of association in Hong Kong.”