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Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

Mainland agents ‘tipped off Hong Kong about Singapore’s tanks’

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by November 26, 2016 General

Mainland law enforcement agents tipped off Hong Kong customs about nine Singaporean military vehicles after the boat carrying them docked in the coastal sea port of Xiamen, prompting their seizure and impounding in the city last Wednesday, a report has claimed.

Before the latest twist in the diplomatic row, Singapore stepped up efforts to recover the armoured vehicles with a delegation thought to have arrived in Hong Kong on Friday night to expedite the release and quell the potential political fallout.

Sources said Singapore would need to contact the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to secure the return of the vehicles, adding that the discovery had been reported to Beijing already and the decision on whether release them was no longer in the hands of Hong Kong.

According to a report published by the FactWire news agency on Saturday, citing customs sources, the cargo ship carrying the military equipment had set sail from Taiwan, but docked in Xiamen en route to Hong Kong, where the military kit was found.

Singapore’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Thursday night that local customs officials detained the vehicles as part of a “delay due to a request for routine inspections by Hong Kong customs”.

The stand-off – in which Hong Kong is playing man in the middle – comes as China adopts an increasingly hostile attitude towards Singapore, which has recently had strategic geopolitical disagreements with Beijing over the likes of the South China Sea.

Experts have said that the vehicles, which had been in Taiwan while Singapore held military drills there, could be seen as additional blowback for four decades of military co-operation between Taiwan and the city state, which an extremely unhappy Beijing has tolerated, while officially seeing Taiwan as a renegade province.

The impounding of the nine advanced combat vehicles at Kwai Chung container terminal has triggered frantic diplomatic manoeuvres between Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei and Singapore.

An armed forces team representing Singapore’s Ministry of Defence was due to arrive in Hong Kong last night to “address the security of the equipment”, which has since been impounded at a customs facility in Tuen Mun.

Hong Kong customs and Singapore’s defence ministry have been contacted for comment.

Under the city’s Import and Export Ordinance, a licence is required for the import, export, re-export or transshipment of strategic commodities. The maximum penalty for doing so without a licence is an unlimited fine and seven years in prison.

Mainland law enforcement agents tipped off Hong Kong customs about nine Singaporean military vehicles after it docked in the costal sea port of Xiamen, prompting its seizure and impounding in the city last Wednesday, a report has claimed.

Prior to the latest twist to a developing diplomatic row, Singapore stepped up efforts to recover the military assets with a delegation thought to have arrived in Hong Kong last night to expedite the release and quell the potential political fallout from the impoundment.

Sources have told the Post Singapore would need to contact the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to secure the return of the armoured vehicles, adding that the discovery had been reported to Beijing already and the decision to release was no longer in the hands of Hong Kong.

In a report published by the Factwire news agency on Saturday, the cargo vessel carrying the military equipment had set sail from Taiwan, but docked in the mainland coastal port of Xiamen en-route to Hong Kong where the discovery of the undeclared military equipment was made and the information filtered to local customs in the SAR who took action, citing custom sources.

Singapore’s Ministry of Defence said in statement on Thursday night that local customs detained the vehicles as part of a “delay due to a request for routine inspections by the Hong Kong customs”.

The stand-off – in which Hong Kong is playing man in the middle – comes as China adopts and increasingly hostile attitude towards Singapore which has recently had strategic geo-political disagreements with Beijing over the likes of the South China Sea.

Experts have said that the vehicles, which had been in Taiwan where Singapore had been conducting military training drills, could be seen as additional blowback for four decades of military co-operation between Taiwan and the city state which an extremely unhappy Beijing has tolerated, which sees Taiwan as a renegade province.

The impounding of the nine advanced combat vehicles at Kwai Chung container terminal has triggered frantic diplomatic manoeuvre between Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei and the island city-state.

An armed forces team representing Singapore’s Ministry of Defence was due to arrive in Hong Kong last night to “address the security of the equipment” which has since been impounded at a customs facility in Tuen Mun.

Hong Kong customs and Singapore’s defence ministry has been contacted for comment.

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