China tip-off led to armored vehicles: reports
November 27, 2016, 12:26 am TWN
HONG KONG–Hong Kong customs seized a shipment of nine armored vehicles aboard a ship originating in Kaohsiung and bound for Singapore that was transiting through Hong Kong on Nov. 23 after it was tipped off by China, Hong Kong media reported Saturday.
Singapore has confirmed that the Terrex AV81 wheeled armored personnel carriers belonged to its military and were “used in overseas training,” but it did not confirm that the training mission took place in Taiwan, as most observers suspect.
The Kaohsiung Customs office said the ship carrying armored vehicles and military items for the training of Singapore’s Armed Forces departed from Kaohsiung on Nov. 22.
Hong Kong’s Customers and Excise Department said it seized the containers holding the armored vehicles because it found “suspected controlled items” on board during a routine inspection.
There was widespread speculation over why China may have initiated the seizure, but many suggested that the move called into question the four decades of military cooperation between Taiwan and Singapore.
Radio Television Hong Kong cited Factwire, a Kowloon-based investigative News Agency, to say Saturday that before the Singapore-bound ship came to Hong Kong, it docked at Xiamen’s Haitian Terminal in China’s Fujian province.
Citing customs sources, Factwire reported that officials at the Chinese port found that the ship contained banned military items but did not have a permit for them.
Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise Department then received a tip from China to take action by boarding the ship for an inspection and seize the military items, the report said.
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Armored vehicles bound for Singapore seized in Hong Kong