Cardinal Joseph Zen and five other people went on trial on Monday over their alleged roles in a now-defunct fund set up to pay the legal and medical fees of anti-government protesters.
Zen, former legislators Margaret Ng and Cyd Ho, Cantopop singer Denise Ho, cultural studies scholar Hui Po-keung and Sze Ching-wee have pleaded not guilty to failing to properly register the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund as a society.
Prosecutors told West Kowloon Court that between June 2019 and October 2021 the fund attracted some HK$270 million in donations.
They alleged that it had a political purpose, adding that some of the money donated was used to pay for music equipment at rallies and to sponsor students to travel abroad for political lobbying.
Prosecutors claimed that while abroad, the students called for sanctions against Hong Kong and mainland officials – something later outlawed by the national security law.
The prosecutors also said that a Taiwanese organisation received HK$3 million from the fund and that this group had criticised the SAR and central governments and described the security law as "draconian".
The offence the defendants are charged with carries a maximum punishment of a HK$10,000 fine.