29th August 2019 – (Hong Kong) The controversial 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund was set up on 15th June 2019 to provide legal expenditure, medical expenses, psychological counselling and other related assistance for protesters during anti-extradition protests.
The trustees of the fund included Joseph Zen, Cardinal of the Catholic Church from Hong Kong (a close ally of Jimmy Lai), singer Denise Ho, Cyd Ho Sau-lan and Dr. Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, both ex-Legislative Councillors.
The fund released their latest financial report at 2pm today (Please click HERE for their full report). A whopping total of HK$74,283,281.03 has been raised as at 24th August including HK$300,000 donated by Apple Daily earlier. We have casted our doubts earlier on the source of fund raised during the 16th June Rally i.e. 12,110,598.59 in their financial report dated 8th August and in today’s report, another HK$8,072.592.40 was labelled as ‘fund raised in the 18th June Rally’. It’s mind boggling as to why this amount was purportedly omitted in the 8th August report . (Please click HERE to refer to our article and click HERE for their original 8th August report).
The total amount of over HK$20 million raised during the two June rallies remains suspicious as the donors’ identities were not revealed. Save for a few, most of the other donors’ identities were also protected and kept anonymous. There have been many accusations that the United States has used its National Endowment for Democracy to fund the front line protesters (Read HERE). Unless the Fund reveals its source, we believe many will remain sceptical.
The Fund claimed that it is currently following up on 530 cases including 81 protesters who were charged, 210 arrestees and 239 others (including the injured victims). They have only incurred HK$1,915,421.50 to-date for 169 applicants on temporary financial relief, legal, bail and medical expenses and the evaluation process has been unusually slow for cases with no significant interest to them. A total of HK$224,386.70 has also been spent on administrative expenses including HK$53,900 on staff salaries, HK$11,639.90 on office expenses, traffic, printing and website. Bank and PayPal handling fees came to a total of HK$158,846.80. The classification of administrative expenses has not been further explained.
Besides, the fund also incurred HK$181,310.90 on the funeral expenses of Marcus Leung, the first anti-extradition protester who committed suicide. HK$60,000 was given to Civil Rights Observer, a civil society organisation focusing on police abuse of powers and civil and political rights in Hong Kong which also provides free legal advice for protesters. The most non-humanitarian expenses incurred by them to-date would be the sound systems used for the Civil Human Rights Front street rally on 16th June (HK$218,690) and the legal seminar held at the Legislative Council Protest area on 23rd June (HK$28,300). These two amounts stood out like a sore thumb.
Police have arrested at least 900 protesters in the last two months since June but the Fund has provided support for less than 19% of the protesters who were arrested and charged. Meanwhile, they have only spent a small percentage (5%) of the total money raised. According to sources, out of the 55 who applied earlier, each of them only received HK$10,000 The amount was barely sufficient to cover any legal expenses. Many have complained that it was virtually impossible to ask for help from the Fund.
Furthermore, the Fund has persistently referred many of the arrested protesters to Civil Rights Observer which also provides free legal aid instead of taking up the cases themselves.
It seems like the cash- flushed fund has only been spending on protesters who could help in their propaganda or the front line protesters who may be working indirectly for them. Why did they need to spend HK$181,310.90 on the funeral of Marcus Leung (the protester clad in yellow raincoat who sacrificed himself at Admiralty)? Because this high profile suicide received significant empathy from all the over world. Hence, multiple memorial services needed to be held for the whole world to know why he died. Also, why did the Fund spend on the audio visual equipment for street rallies and seminar? They have also paid in full the medical expenses for the girl who ruptured her right eye after she was allegedly shot by bean bag round.
We are even more perplexed after the girl who ruptured her right eye made an appearance via a video recording in a purported civilians’ interview this afternoon without mentioning anything about her medical condition. Did someone specifically tell her to keep mum so that she could be used continuously as an empathetic propaganda machinery? (Read HERE).
When dealing with high profile cases, it appears that the disbursement process is speedier and more efficient.
We can’t help to wonder if this 612 Humanitarian Relief fund was set up only to give priority to radical front line protesters who are working for the mastermind as part of a team and high profile cases which can be used as propaganda tools in their pro-democracy quest. The huge reserve may even be used as a war chest in street rallies since they have already spent on audio visual equipment in the past street rally and seminar.