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Hong Kong pastor prosecuted on mainland for printing Christian books reporters - Thu, Apr 7th 2016

Hong Kong pastor prosecuted on mainland for printing Christian books Arrest of The Rev. Ng Wah shows China's growing desire to exert control on religion

Police walk past missing person notices of booksellers and a Hong Kong publisher who was last year jailed for 10 years. The prosecution of a Hong Kong pastor on the mainland is the most recent indication of the Chinese government's desire to extend control over the former English colony. (Photo by AFP)

A Hong Kong pastor has reportedly been prosecuted on the mainland for printing Christian books and raising money in the latest sign of China's growing desire to exert control on religion and extend law enforcement into Hong Kong.

The Rev. Ng Wah disappeared in July and was arrested on the Chinese mainland, said Constant Kim, a friend and member of the Christian Church of Chinese Ministry that Ng had set up.

"It is political persecution. Some extreme leftist officials in Guangzhou did this," said Kim, adding that he had been told of Ng's fate by an "authoritative source" in mainland China.

The Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court heard a fraud trial against Ng involving more than 100 million yuan (US$15.43 million) on Feb. 19, Hong Kong's Chinese-language Ming Pao Daily reported, citing a court list.

Also standing trial as the first defendant in the same case was Lin Jingying who organized a house church — a Protestant church that is not registered with the mainland Chinese government.

In July, the same month friends and family lost contact with the pastor, his church colleague the Rev. Phillip Woo was ordered to the Hong Kong border city of Shenzhen where police told him to stop preaching across the border.

Woo was accused of violating mainland China's religious laws after posting messages on social media calling on Chinese Christians to come to Hong Kong for training.

Woo told that his interaction with Guangzhou police and Ng's disappearance on the mainland showed China's religious situation "has tightened." But he said he did not have concerns with the way Ng was arrested.

Woo and Ng had not worked with the Christian Church of Chinese Ministry for some time, he added.

The church's website lists two operations in Hong Kong and a meeting point in Futian, a checkpoint on the mainland China side of the border in Shenzhen.

Its mission includes promoting pastoral care in Hong Kong and the mainland as well as training workers for churches inside China.

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