Hong Kong arrests Cardinal Zen, singer over activist fund

Hong Kong has accused Cardinal Joseph Zen and three others who ran a fund to provide legal assistance to help those detained over the 2019 protests of “collusion with foreign powers” under the Beijing-imposed National Security Law.

The 90-year-old retired bishop of Hong Kong was arrested on Wednesday night and released on bail after being questioned for a number of hours. Pop singer Denise Ho, lawyer Margaret Ng and academic Hui Po-Keung – all of them trustees of the now-defucnt 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund – were also arrested and released on bail.

Hong Kong police said in a statement that its national security unit had arrested two men and two women, ranging from 45 to 90 years old for “collusion with foreign forces” on Tuesday and Wednesday. Ho is 45.

Police said they were suspected of asking for foreign sanctions. All were released on bail with their passports confiscated, the statement added.

Hui was arrested at the airport as he was leaving to take up a fellowship overseas.

The United States, which has imposed sanctions on senior Hong Kong officials including outgoing chief executive Carrie Lam, condemned the arrests.

“Hong Kong authorities have again demonstrated they will pursue all means necessary to stifle dissent and undercut protected rights and freedoms,” Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

The Vatican said earlier on Wednesday that it was concerned about reports of Zen’s arrest.

“The Holy See has learnt the news of Cardinal Zen’s arrest with concern and is following the development of the situation very closely,” the Vatican said in a brief statement.

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