Leaders set free after church raid
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PUBLIC Security Bureau (PSB) officials have released a Taiwanese preacher and all but 10 of the 152 church leaders arrested in a November 19 police raid on an unregistered church meeting in central Henan, according to a report by the US-based News Network International.
Sources say authorities have gradually released the Chinese nationals from a PSB detention centre in the city of Zhoukou, after fining each up to 1,000 yuan (HK$917).
Local officials reportedly told those being released that the fines were exacted to cover food and accommodation expenses incurred during their imprisonment.
However, sources in Zhoukou say PSB officials have failed to issue receipts to those fined, fuelling speculation that the money has been misappropriated by corrupt officials.
The Taiwanese preacher, whose name has not been released, was detained and interrogated by Zhoukou security officials for five days before being ordered to leave the country in late November.
According to sources, the November 19 assault by police took place while the Taiwanese Christian was conducting a Bible training seminar.
It is still not known why 10 church leaders remain in police custody.
However, Hong Kong sources said it was likely they had refused to pay the fine or were being viewed by authorities as the organisers of the 'illegal' seminar.