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.
Hong Kong police deployed water cannons for the first time Sunday in a show of force as pro-democracy protests turned violent following nearly two weeks of relative calm.
// Wilson Leung from Hong Kong's Progressive Lawyers' Group told Euronews' Good Morning Europe show that the involvement of his profession in today's march underlines the seriousness of the threat to democracy. "The concern that the legal community has is whether the prosecutions in the Department of Justice are being conducted fairly because pretty alarmingly there are signs that political considerations are at play," he said. "There has been an open letter from anonymous prosecutors in the department saying that the head of the department is using political considerations. "There is also heavy widespread use of colonial-era rioting charges; these are very draconian, and the highest penalty of ten years imprisonment can be used. "Contrast that with the lighter treatment of the suspected gangsters involved in the attack (on pro-democracy protesters) in Yuen Long three weeks ago: 19 people were arrested, they were not formally charged and the offence they were charged with was unlawful assembly. "This really contrasts with the treatment of pro-democracy protesters."