Hong Kong customs is set to press charges against the shipping company and the captain of the container ship which transported nine Singapore military vehicles into the city from Taiwan in November without a required licence.
Shipping company APL is expected to be issued with a summons while the captain of the container ship is to be charged with importing strategic commodities without a required licence, according to a government source with knowledge of the case.
A spokesman for the customs department said: "After a thorough investigation, the department has sufficient evidence to prove a case in breach of the strategic trade control system. Prosecution of the offending parties [shipping agent and master of the vessel] has been instigated today."
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A spokesman for the shipping company said: "APL has not received any official summons and will not be in a position to comment further."
The move to bring charges came after the Customs and Excise Department sought legal advice from the Department of Justice.
The nine Terrex armoured troop carriers were seized by customs officerson November 23 last year. The cargo was bound for Singapore from the Taiwanese port of Kaohsiung.
The vehicles, which were not "specifically" declared in the cargo manifest, had been used in a military exercise in Taiwan. It was Hong Kong's biggest seizure of "strategic commodities" in two decades.
The seizure was seen as a warning from Beijing over military ties between Singapore and the island, which China considers a renegade province.