A massive haul of illegally shipped rocket fuel was found in a raid by customs officers in Hong Kong, it was revealed yesterday. A container company denied shipping the 10 tonnes of fuel into the territory during a hearing at Western Court. The COSCO Container Line Agency pleaded not guilty to importing and exporting strategic commodities without a licence. Customs officers raided a ship at Kwai Chung container terminal on April 29 after a tip-off. They found 200 boxes of ammonium perchlorate in a container on the vessel. It was being shipped from China to Pakistan. Customs and Excise Department officer S. K. Wong said it was one of the largest seizures of rocket fuel in the territory. The white, crystalline fuel is so explosive a licence is required to bring it into the territory, even if it is not being unloaded here. The fuel was to be sent to a company called the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission in Karachi. Originally from Xian, the consignment arrived in Hong Kong on the Qinghe, a ship owned by the Guangzhou Ocean Shipping Company. The COSCO Container Line Agency, a subsidiary of the COSCO Hong Kong Group, is the agent for the Chinese vessel. Magistrate Ian Candy sent the case for trial on December 6. Another consignment of fuel destined for the same Pakistani purchaser was confiscated in Taiwan earlier this year. The 200 barrels of fuel were found in March on a non-COSCO freighter registered in North Korea and were allegedly heading to Karachi via Hong Kong.