The magistrate rules that there is sufficient evidence for a trial of Cardinal Zen and five others accused of failing to register a legal defence fund. Some more details here. As a taste of how things are likely to go…
…the lawyer representing the cardinal asked a senior police inspector whether the funeral committee for the late Macau tycoon Stanley Ho and Chief Executive John Lee’s election office were registered societies.
However, the line of cross-examination was stopped by the prosecution and the magistrate, who questioned the relevance of whether other groups were registered societies.
She said that funeral-related groups formed ‘not because of an aim, but to complete something’.
Isn’t completion an aim? Whatever. Expect more extreme nitpicking over what sort of group needs registration under the Societies Ordinance, including prosecution emphasis on the political – as in sinister- or conspiratorial-sounding – nature of the fund (a la Wen Wei Po). The trial for a minor (max HK$10,000 fine) and little-used charge could turn into a neat example of ‘rule by law’, in which government opponents commit offenses while loyalists doing the same thing do not.
Another weird moment in NatSec: police film worshipers leaving the Anglican cathedral after a memorial service for the Queen. Given the use of this tactic to dissuade crowds from jeering the national anthem at sports events, the logic is presumably that expressions of mourning for the late sovereign (as outside the British consulate) are a disguised form of anti-Beijing protest. No exceptions for the church of which she was Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor by convention dating back to 1531 (Henry VIII, etc).