HK Customs 'set to charge' shipping company over transport of Terrex vehicles without licence

One of the nine Terrex armoured vehicles about to be loaded onto a truck at a cargo terminal in Hong Kong on Jan 26, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG - The Hong Kong Customs is likely to press charges against the shipping company and the captain of the container ship which transported nine Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) armoured vehicles into the city from Taiwan in November without a required licence, reported the South China Morning Post on Wednesday (March 22).

Shipping company APL is expected to be issued with a summons while the captain of the container ship is to be charged with importing strategic commodities without a required licence, the report said, quoting a government source with knowledge of the case.

The Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department was said to have sought legal advice from the Department of Justice about the move.

On Nov 23 last year, Hong Kong Customs seized the nine Terrex vehicles which had been on an APL container ship that was in transit in Hong Kong, en route from Taiwan to Singapore. The Singapore-made vehicles had been used in a military exercise in Taiwan, and were being shipped home.

On Jan 24, Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry said that Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying had replied to an earlier letter from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, to inform him that the Hong Kong authorities had completed their investigations and would release the held vehicles and equipment.

The Terrex vehicles left the Hong Kong port on Jan 27 on an APL ship and arrived in Singapore three days later.

Hong Kong Customs had said that APL could face criminal charges for a suspected breach of the law.

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