(Adds comment from shipping company)
HONG KONG, March 24 (Reuters) - Hong Kong authorities have
launched a prosecution against the captain of the ship and
shipping agent involved in transporting nine Singaporean
armoured vehicles seized in the city last November.
Hong Kong customs officers seized the Terrex troop carriers
as they were being shipped home from military exercises in
Singapore's armed forces have maintained long-standing if
low key military training facilities in Taiwan, and Beijing
officials used the seizure to warn countries against security
ties with the island, which it regards as a breakaway province.
Master Pan Xuejun, 39, appeared in court on Friday charged
with one count of importing strategic commodities without a
necessary licence, the South China Morning reported.
The shipping company, APL, was also summoned and will appear
in court at a later date, the paper reported.
An APL spokesperson told Reuters that the firm had yet to
receive any summons but was "rendering its support" to Pan.
Pan was released on bail without entering a plea. He is due
to reappear in court on May 19.
Hong Kong Customs and Excise officials confirmed that they
launched prosecution cases against the shipping agent and the
ship's master on Wednesday.
"After a thorough investigation, the Customs and Excise
Department has sufficient evidence to prove a case in breach of
the strategic control system," a Customs statement said.
Hong Kong returned the carriers to Singapore on January 24,
with officials saying that the Singapore government would not be
The seizure came amid some broader signs of strains between
China and Singapore, which has deepened its security
relationship with the United States over recent years and
remains concerned over China's assertiveness in the disputed
South China Sea.
(Reporting by Venus Wu and Greg Torode; Editing by Simon