Mindef hopes to have Terrex vehicles back by Feb 11
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said yesterday he hopes the nine Singapore Armed Forces armoured vehicles that were detained in Hong Kong will make it home before the traditional 15 days of the Chinese New Year end.
He was speaking to reporters a day after Hong Kong said it would release the Terrex Infantry Carrier Vehicles and other equipment that have been held since Nov 23 to Singapore.
The carrier, APL, has told the Defence Ministry it would expedite their return by shipping the vehicles without making any stops, Dr Ng said. Even then, it would take about a week.
"Hopefully the Terrexes can leave Hong Kong soon and arrive in Singapore to celebrate reunion for Chap Goh Mei," he told reporters after visiting a disaster relief planning exercise at the Changi Naval Base.
Chap Goh Mei, or the 15th night of the Chinese New Year, is the last day of CNY celebrations. This year, it is on Feb 11.
On Tuesday, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying had informed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that Hong Kong authorities had completed their investigations and would be releasing the Terrex vehicles to Singapore.
Dr Ng said yesterday the conclusion of the investigation and the decision to release the Terrexes was "a positive outcome".
"It reflects the good and friendly relations between Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China and Singapore," he added.
Hong Kong Commissioner of Customs and Excise Roy Tang said the Terrexes could be moved once all the paperwork was completed.
Asked if Beijing had any role in the case, he said: "Hong Kong Customs is only authorised to enforce Hong Kong law.
"We have no role to play in any enforcement or work other than laws applicable to Hong Kong, so there's no such implication."
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