Cardinal Joseph Zen and five other people have pleaded not guilty to failing to register a now-defunct fund set up to pay legal and medical fees of anti-government protesters and are to be put on trial in September.
The case against Zen, former legislators Margaret Ng and Cyd Ho, Canto-pop singer Denise Ho, cultural studies scholar Hui Po-keung and Sze Shing-wai was brought to West Kowloon Court for mention on Tuesday.
The court heard that as the office-bearers, the six had, between July 16, 2019 and October 31, 2021, failed to register the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund as a society within a specified period.
Prosecutors said they will call 17 witnesses and submit 10 boxes of documents and eight hours of video footage, while defence lawyers said they will challenge the notion that the fund was even a "society" at all.
The defence lawyers also questioned whether the resources poured into the prosecution might be "a bit over the top", given the alleged offence carries a maximum penalty of HK$10,000.
The magistrate adjourned the case to August 9 for a pre-trial hearing, with a five-day trial expected to begin on September 19.
All of the defendants, except Cyd Ho who's in prison over a separate offence, were released on bail.
Zen, Ng, Cyd Ho, Denise Ho and Hui were also arrested by national security police earlier this month on suspicion of "conspiracy to collude with foreign forces", but have so far not been charged with this offence.