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Hong Kong police arrest Catholic cleric, 90, in latest pro-democracy crackdown

Former Bishop of Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen arrives at the West Kowloon Court Buildings in Hong Kong on April 16, 2021. Zen was arrested by Hong Kong’s national security police on Wednesday. File Photo by Jerome Favre/EPA-EFE
Former Bishop of Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen arrives at the West Kowloon Court Buildings in Hong Kong on April 16, 2021. Zen was arrested by Hong Kong’s national security police on Wednesday. File Photo by Jerome Favre/EPA-EFE

May 11 (UPI) -- A new roundup by the Hong Kong national police of pro-democracy activists on Wednesday included a 90-year-old Catholic cleric, a lawyer, a singer and an academic who were involved with a humanitarian fund that helped other dissidents.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, who served as Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, was taken into custody along with lawyer Margaret Ng, local entertainer Denise Ho Wan-sze and Hui Po-keung, a former educator at Lingnan University.

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They were accused of collusion with foreign forces. All four were trustees with the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which has been shut down. The fund had given financial assistance to those arrested in the 2019 pro-democracy protests and which helped pay for their legal fees.

It disbanded last September after the national security police announced it was under investigation for possibly violating Hong Kong's new security law.

Zen had supported pro-democracy issues in Hong Kong and had been critical of the Vatican for not being more supportive vocally of those efforts.

It was the latest in the series of high-profile arrests and police actions in Hong Kong to crack down on pro-democracy rallies that run counter to the mainland Chinese leadership.

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Last December, Hong Kong police raided pro-democracy Stand News and arrested several staffers. They were charged with suspicion of conspiring to publish seditious material. Former Hong Kong media owner Jimmy Lai was arrested and charged with the same count last year.

Lai's pro-democracy paper, Apple Daily, was forced to close after similar police raids.

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