The captain of a container ship belonging to shipping company APL has been charged with not having the required licence when his vessel stopped in Hong Kong with nine Singapore Armed Forces armoured vehicles last November.
Pan Xuejun, 39, did not enter a plea at the West Kowloon Magistrate Court yesterday. The Chinese national faces one count of importing strategic commodities without the necessary licence. He was allowed bail of HK$50,000 (S$9,010), and his case has been adjourned to May 19. If convicted, Pan could face a fine and up to seven years in jail.
APL is understood to be also facing prosecution.
The Hong Kong authorities said it has “sufficient evidence to prove” that both APL and Pan had breached the law. It also said the Singapore Government could not be held responsible for the breach as it was only the consignee of the vehicles.
The court heard that on Nov 23 last year, Pan was the captain of a vessel transporting the Singapore-made Terrex infantry carriers back to Singapore after a military exercise in Taiwan. The ship stopped in Hong Kong without an import licence issued by the city’s Director-General of Trade and Industry. This led Customs officials to seize the vehicles.
According to the Customs authorities, vessels must declare all cargo on board before docking at its port. Generally, cargo in transit does not require an “import or export licence” as it will remain on the ship. However, such a licence is needed for “certain type of strategic commodities”.