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Catholic religious leader stands trial in Hong Kong

Cardinal Joseph Zen and five others stood trial in Hong Kong on Monday for failing to properly register a fund to provide legal aid to pro-democracy protesters.

The 90-year-old cardinal and retired bishop of Hong Kong arrived at the court in West Kowloon on Sept. 26 using a cane to walk. He was arrested in May along with other democracy activists under Hong Kong’s strict national security law.

In addition to Zen, who has been free on bail since early May, several others have been charged for failing to apply for local society registration for the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund between 2019 and 2021. 

All the defendants have pleaded not guilty. 

On the first day of the trial, the prosecution said that the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund had raised a total of $34.4 million and used part of the fund for “political activities and non-charity events” such as donations to protest groups, AFP reported.

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