The nine Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles (ICVs) and accompanying equipment that were seized by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department, have left the Hong Kong port this morning and are expected to reach back in Singapore within a week.
Minister of Defence posted on his Facebook page earlier this morning that Singapore Armed Forces’ Terrex ICVs had left Hong Kong port at 4.15am and they are heading directly back to Singapore.
The vehicles had been moved out from Hong Kong customs’ cargo examination compound yesterday (26 January) afternoon in the preparation to be shipped back to Singapore.
According to South China Morning Post and Oriental Daily, heavy security accompanied the armoured vehicles as they were moved out of a customs’ cargo examination compound at about midnight on Friday. There were customs officers armed with rifles stood guard and police motorcycles which escorted the convoy as it travelled to a container terminal at the port.
The shipment will be handled by APL, the company which initially handled the shipping from Taiwan back to Singapore after a military exercise.
The Terrex ICVs were seized by the Hong Kong customs at Hong Kong’s Kwai Chung Container Terminal on 23 November on their way to Singapore from the Taiwanese port of Kaohsiung and had been stored at Tuen Mun River Trade Terminal for most of the two months.
The vehicles were released after the Customs and Exercise Department completed an investigation, which revealed that Singapore government could not be held responsible as it was only the consignee of the vehicles. The shipping company, however, could potentially face criminal prosecution.
The Minister had earlier told reporters on 25 January that he hopes for the nine Terrex ICVs to be returned to the country in time to celebrate reunion for Chap Goh Meh, which falls on 11 February this year.
He also noted that the decision to return the Terrex ICVs is “a positive outcome” and that it “reflects good and friendly relations between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China and Singapore.