File photo of the nine eight-wheeled Singapore-made Terrex infantry carrier vehicles that were detained at a container terminal in Hong Kong. Source: FactWire News Agency
SINGAPORE — Shipping firm APL and the captain of the container ship carrying the Republic’s armoured troop carriers that were detained in Hong Kong in November 2016 have claimed trial to charges that they had imported strategic commodities to the Chinese territory without the necessary licence, the Apple Daily reported on Thursday (Feb 22).
The company and the captain, Pan Xuejun, pleaded not guilty in a Hong Kong court on Thursday. The trial will be held in Mandarin on October 11, and is expected to last about 15 days, the report added, citing the defence lawyers.
Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise Department began prosecution proceedings against APL and Pan, 39, a Chinese national, in March last year, saying it had “sufficient evidence to prove a case in breach of the strategic trade control system” after a “thorough investigation”.
The Singapore Armed Forces Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles were seized by the Hong Kong authorities on Nov 23, 2016 as they were passing through Hong Kong from the Taiwanese port of Kaohsiung. The shipment was en route to Singapore after a military training exercise.
The nine vehicles were held for about two months.
Hong Kong’s Commissioner of Customs and Excise Roy Tang said at the time that the vehicles were seized because “there was a suspected breach of the Hong Kong law”, adding that an investigation might lead to criminal prosecution.