Update at 7.26pm: The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the military vehicles in Hong Kong belong to the Singapore Armed Forces. They are expected to return to Singapore after being delayed for inspection by customs. MINDEF says, as with previous exercises, the vehicles were being shipped back by commercial means.
Here’s MINDEF’s full statement: On 23 November 2016, a shipment of Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles (ICVs) and associated equipment used by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) for overseas training was delayed at Hong Kong’s Kwai Chung Container Terminal, due to a request for routine inspections by the Hong Kong Customs authorities. Singapore authorities are providing relevant assistance to the Hong Kong Customs and expect the shipment to return to Singapore expeditiously. The Terrex ICVs were used by the SAF in routine overseas training and shipped back via commercial means as with previous exercises.
Hong Kong news agency FactWire, which previously broke the news (and the Internet) about 26 China-made SMRT trains being sent back for replacement, has a new scoop.
This time it involves a shipment of nine armoured personnel carriers (APC) being held by Hong Kong customs at the Kwai Chung terminal after a routine inspection.
The report alleged that the shipment was aboard a container ship that was from Kaoshiung, Taiwan and was bound for Singapore.
Factwire reported that according to sources close to the matter, the container ship docked in Hong Kong but was not planning to unload its goods nor do any trading. According to the South China Morning Post, a government source said that it was possible the containers with APCs were unloaded by mistake at the terminal with other general goods.
According to FactWire, the investigators are still trying to determine who owns the APCs, which country exported them, what the APCs are used for and other customs clearance details.
FactWire also reported that the APCs are now being surrounded by over 30 containers to block them from the view and can only be seen from the air. The APCs are also covered by cloth.
Hong Kong’s Apple Daily News alleged that there were two models of APCs being held, of which one is the Singapore Armed Force’s Terrex AV-81. The media outlet also alleged that these APCs belonged to SAF’s Starlight exercise.
In response to the news, forum users on Hardwarezone started a thread called “SAF Terrex kena impounded by HK customs” and many users are speculating about the incident:
Some also see the lighter side of this and put it down so an administrative mess up: