With the onset of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, fewer people are taking to the streets in Hong Kong – but for prosecuted protesters, the work is just getting started. By the end of January 2020, over 7,000 people had been arrested in connection with the protests, about 1,000 charged, and 20 sentenced. Common charges are criminal damage, possession of an offensive weapon, assaulting the police, obstructing the police, participating in an unlawful assembly, and participating in a riot.
"Of all the defendants who appeared on Wednesday, the majority will probably go free," says Vickie Lui, one of Hong Kong's lawyers who provide free assistance to arrested protesters. Lui, who works for the Progressive Lawyers Group, has joined a central office from which the legal assistance for detainees is directed. During the protests you see many young people with the telephone number of that hotline on their arm.