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Cardinal Joseph Zen was arrested by the Hong Kong authorities, according to local media. The Catholic News Agency says that Zen was reportedly detained for his role as a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which helped pro-democracy protesters.
The Holy See expressed its concern over the arrest and said that it continues to follow the situation closely.
It was also known that along with Zen were arrested the famous singer Denise Ho and the former opposition congresswoman Margaret Ng. According to the EFE news agency, the arrests came after another of the organization’s leaders, academic Hui Po-Keung, was arrested on Tuesday by police at Hong Kong airport as he was about to board a flight to Germany.
Hui has also been charged with alleged collaboration with foreign forces. The four detainees have been taken to different police stations. An assistant of Margaret Ng confirmed to Commercial Radio that the lawyer was arrested at around 07.00 p.m. local time (12.00 GMT) on Wednesday. All detainees were later released on bail.
The charges against Joseph Zen
The offense that all the detainees are charged with is contained in the National Security Law imposed by Beijing in June 2020 in the wake of the 2019 pro-democracy protests. The maximum penalty under the law is life imprisonment.
Zen, who was bishop of Hong Kong, was appointed cardinal in 2006 and retired three years later. He maintained an active role during the pro-democracy protests in 2019 and was one of the trustees of the now-defunct “612 Humanitarian Relief Fund.”