A Hongkonger who recently completed two years in a mainland Chinese jail over a failed attempt to flee to Taiwan has been charged with perverting the course of justice and possession of dangerous drugs upon her return to the city.

The case of Quinn Moon, 35, was mentioned at Fanling Magistrates’ Courts on Tuesday morning, a day after Moon arrived in Hong Kong. She did not appear in person as she is undergoing Covid-19 quarantine.

Fanling Law Courts Building
Fanling Law Courts Building. Photo: Hillary Leung/HKFP.

According to the charge sheet, Moon was charged with “doing an act or a series of acts tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice” linked to her attempted escape from Hong Kong. The act, or acts, had “a tendency” to obstruct police investigation and criminal proceedings, the sheet read.

Separately, she was charged with possessing a dangerous drug – 2.98 grams of cannabis – on January 14, 2020.

The case was adjourned to next Wednesday, but if Moon is unable to complete her quarantine by then, it will be pushed to September 6, at the latest. The court did not say how many days’ isolation she must undergo.

quinn moon Hong Kong Twelve
Quinn Moon (in black hood) was brought to the Tin Shui Wai police station on August 22, after finished serving a two-year jail term in mainland China. Photo: Peter Lee/HKFP.

Moon was handed over to Hong Kong police at Tin Shui Wai police station on Monday morning after completing a two-year sentence at a prison in Guangdong. She was found guilty of organising an illegal border crossing in a mainland Chinese court in December 2020.

The Save 12 Hong Kong Youths group said on Facebook that Moon was in “good spirits.”

“Quinn’s family would like to express their gratitude to all for their concern and support over the past few years,” a post on the page read.

The page added that the family had no intention of raising funds and had already arranged legal representation for Moon.

Failed escape attempt

Moon, then 33, was among a group of 12 Hongkongers caught by the mainland Chinese coastguard on August 23, 2020, when they tried to leave the city on a speedboat heading to Taiwan. Most of those on board were on bail pending trial over protest-related offences, including rioting and arson.

Moon was wanted in connection with a bomb-making case at the time.

The incident gained international attention, with the then-US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and then-UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab expressing concerns over the fate of the fugitives under a legal system often criticised as opaque.

Two of the twelve were minors and were returned to Hong Kong in December 2020. Of the remaining 10, eight were sentenced to seven months in prison in mainland China. They were handed over to Hong Kong authorities last March after completing their jail terms.

hong kong twelve save 12
Pro-democracy activist Alexandra Wong holding a “Save 12” sign. Photo: Supplied.

Moon and Tang Kai-yin, who were found guilty of organising an illegal border crossing, were jailed for two and three years, respectively. Tang is still serving his sentence.

The mainland lawyers who assisted the group were either forced to drop the case or had their licences revoked by the justice department.

Also on the speedboat was activist Andy Li, who was then under a national security investigation for an alleged conspiracy involving pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai to request foreign sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese officials.

Apart from Li, those who have returned faced an additional charge of perverting the course of justice on top of their original protest-related charges. They pleaded guilty in July and were sentenced to seven to ten months each.

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Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.