Hong Kong customs has announced that it intends to press charges against shipping company APL and the captain of the container ship which had transported the nine Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles (ICV) into the territory that were seized last November.
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), a government source with knowledge of the case said that the shipping company was expected to be issued with a summons while the captain of the container ship was to be charged with importing strategic commodities without a required licence.
A spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department said that after thorough investigation, the department had sufficient evidence to prove a case in breach of the strategic trade control system, adding that prosecution of the offending parties had been instigated on Wednesday (22 March).
The department added that it made the decision to take legal action after it had sought legal advice from the Department of Justice.
A spokesman for APL said that the company had not received any official summons and that it would not be in a position to comment further.
The vehicles, which were seized by Hong Kong customs at Hong Kong’s Kwai Chung Container Terminal on 23 November 2016, were on their way to Singapore from the Taiwanese port of Kaohsiung. They had been stored at Tuen Mun River Trade Terminal for most of the two months that they were detained.
In more than two decades, this was the biggest seizure of “strategic commodities” that the Hong Kong government had carried out.