Cardinal Joseph Zen has been released on bail hours after he was arrested by the authorities in Hong Kong, according to media reports.
The reports emerged shortly after the Vatican said that it was concerned to hear of the 90-year-old cardinal’s arrest on May 11.
The Financial Times reported that the cardinal was released on bail from Chai Wan Police Station on Hong Kong island later.
The former Catholic bishop of Hong Kong was reportedly detained in his role as a trustee of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, which helped pro-democracy protesters to pay their legal fees.
Zen is an outspoken supporter of the pro-democracy movement.
In 2020, a sweeping National Security Law came into force, criminalizing previously protected civil liberties under the headings of “sedition“ and “foreign collusion.”
Reuters reported that Zen and four others — Canadian-Hong Kong pop star Denise Ho, academic Hui Po Keung, and former opposition lawmakers Margaret Ng and Cyd Ho — were arrested for alleged “collusion with foreign forces.”
Before the law’s implementation, many Catholics, including Zen, warned that it could be used to silence the Church in Hong Kong.