Nine armoured military vehicles bound for Singapore have reportedly been seized in Hong Kong.
Earlier on Thursday (24 November), the South China Morning Post reported that the vehicles were seized by Hong Kong customs, along with components and accessories, in a routine inspection at the Kwai Chung Container Terminal. The incident took place on Wednesday after 12 containers were unloaded from a vessel arriving from Taiwan.
A statement from Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said that “a shipment of Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles (ICVs) and associated equipment, with no ammunition, used by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for overseas training was delayed at Hong Kong’s Kwai Chung Container Terminal, due to a request for routine inspections by the Hong Kong Customs authorities”.
“Singapore authorities are providing relevant assistance to the Hong Kong Customs and expect the shipment to return to Singapore expediently,” said Mindef, adding that the Terrex ICVs were used for routine overseas training and “shipped back via commercial means as with previous exercises”.
Under Hong Kong’s Import and Export Ordinance, a licence issued by the director general of trade and industry is required for the import, export, re-export or transshipment of strategic commodities.
According to Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise Department’s website, strategic commodities are defined as products ranging from sophisticated communication systems to small arms, along with all articles meant for use in connection with nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
In response to e-mail queries from Yahoo Singapore, the Department said: “In a routine ship search on a vessel arriving in Hong Kong from Taiwan at Kwai Chung Container Terminal yesterday (23 November) afternoon, 12 containers destined for Singapore, containing suspected controlled items were found on board the vessel. Customs officers will take appropriate follow-up actions on the items.”