Picture for representation
Picture for representation Reuters

Nine armoured vehicles belonging to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), that were seized by Hong Kong customs on 24 November after arriving at the Kwai Chung container terminal in a shipment from Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, have been shifted to a secured access-controlled area in the city.

Ministry of Defence Singapore (MINDEF) confirmed the news in a press conference on Saturday that the containers which were opened for inspection have been shifted to the depot at the River Trade Terminal after being released by the Hong Kong customs. It was also reported that the MINDEF officials met with representatives from APL, the commercial shipping line to transport nine Terrex ICVs and associated equipment, to assess and investigate the situation and ensure that the vehicles are moved to a protected location.

Hong Kong authorities, on Thursday, said they were trying to identify the owner and sender of the cargo after they were tipped off by mainland law enforcement officials about the unclaimed containers. The nine armoured vehicles were wrapped in blue and grey covers and placed on container racks in a container ship that reached Hong Kong from Kaohsiung in Taiwan, reported the Free Press.

Also read: BREAKING: Singapore confirms armoured vehicles seized in Hong Kong belong to army

"Hong Kong was not its final destination. It is not known why the consignment was unloaded here ... We are still trying to identify the owner, sender and consignee of the cargo," said a government official who declined to be named, according to the South China Morning Post.

Singapore's Ministry of Defence said the Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles confiscated at Hong Kong's Kwai container terminal were used by the Singaporean army which has been conducting training programmes in Taiwan.

"The Terrex ICVs were used by the Singapore Armed Forces in routine overseas training and shipped back via commercial means as with previous exercises," MINDEF said, "Singapore authorities are providing relevant assistance to the Hong Kong Customs and expect the shipment to return to Singapore expeditiously," the defence department added.