Minister of Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen has issued his strongest statement on China’s unauthorized detention of the Singapore Armed Forces’ Terrex military vehicles on Monday.
He said: “The legal position is that the SAF Terrexes and other equipment detained in Hong Kong are the property of the Singapore Government,” he explained. “They are protected by sovereign immunity, even though they were being shipped by commercial carriers. This means that they are immune from any measures of constraint abroad. They cannot legally be detained or confiscated by other countries.
“This principle is well-established under international law, and we are advised by lawyers that it is also the law in the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region).”
He noted that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has since contacted Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung about the vehicles, and that Singapore has informed Hong Kong several times of this legal position via its lawyers and its consul-general over the past 2 months.