Singapore says Hong Kong hasn't clarified reasons for seizing SAF armoured vehicles

SAF officials in Hong Kong say they witnessed extra security cover for the captured army vehicles.

China raps Singapore over Taiwan military ties; mouthpiece lashes out at 'hypocrisy'
Armored troop carriers, belonging to Singapore, are detained at a cargo terminal in Hong Kong, China November 28, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Singapore said on Thursday it has not got any formal communication from Hong Kong about the reasons behind the confiscation of nine Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles.

One week after the Singapore army vehicles were seized in a surprise move by Hong Kong, apparently with the blessings of Beijing, Singaporean officials are still working to resolve the issue, the Mindef said.

"We have advised APL to give its full cooperation to the Hong Kong authorities in order to expedite the recovery of the SAF's assets .. Another meeting has been scheduled between APL and the Hong Kong Customs today," the Ministry of defence said, according to the Channel News Asia.

Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen had said on Tuesday that he expects Hong Kong to soon clarify "the reasons and legal basis for detention." Both Ng and foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said Singapore it is determined to retrieve its military equipment which were being shipped from Taiwan after the troops' training there.

Meanwhile, Officials from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), who are in Hong Kong to pursue the matter further, said they witnessed extra security cover for the captured army vehicles at the Hong Kong customs.

On Monday, China warned Singapore over ties with Taiwan and the Chinese foreign ministry lodged a formal protest with Singapore after the armoured troop carriers were intercepted in Hong Kong last week.

This was followed by stern criticism of Singapore by Global Times, the communist party mouthpiece, which accused the island nation of hypocrisy. Global Times said Singapore was deliberately undermining the One-China principle which espouses the eventual merger of Taiwan with mainland under the same flag. Though Singapore's military and other ties with Taiwan go back to the 1970s China's stance is that the island nation should not have continued the military partnership after it established diplomatic ties with Beijing in the 1990s.

A day later, Global Times upped the ante saying SDF's armored vehicles seized in Hong Kong should be melted down as per the wishes of the Chinese people.