Strange things can turn up at Hong Kong's container port, one of the busiest in the world. On April 3rd local customs officials announced they had confiscated a military aircraft on its way through the port. Following an investigation, customs officials reported that the aircraft—the guns and engine of which had been dismantled prior to shipment—had arrived from Ukraine and was bound for America. There was no evidence of smuggling or other criminal activity, but the plane lacked a proper import licence. RTHK, a government-owned broadcaster, reported that the plane was a Russian-built MIG-29, a formidable cold war-era fighter jet flown by many countries.
The discovery has raised questions about Hong Kong’s port security, even though the port is fully compliant with stringent procedures enforced by America after September 11th 2001. This was not the first time officials have come upon military hardware at the city's Kwai Chung port. In the early hours of March 30th 2000, customs officers literally stumbled across five Soviet-built armoured personnel carriers unloaded on the docks, which may have been en route to North Korea via mainland China. These vehicles then became playground equipment at some of the city's drug rehabilitation and training centres. But what the city will do with the fighter jet is anyone's guess.
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