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Aero India 2023

UK turns down Chinese businessman’s bid to buy aircraft carrier

HMS Invincible was decommissioned in August 2005.

BEIJING (PTI): A Chinese businessman has said he failed to win the bid to buy a junked British aircraft carrier put for auction in December last year despite offering double the expected price, claiming that his offer was turned down due to "political reasons".

Lam Kin-bong a UK-based Chinese businessman from south China's Guangdong Province offered five million pounds ($8.02 million), more than double the expected price, but still did not win the bid because the British authority said he "failed to provide all the necessary information."

The light aircraft carrier, HMS Invincible, was decommissioned in 2005 and was stripped of engines and weapons. The 17,000-ton hull was sold on Disposal Services Agency, an online auction platform under the UK Ministry of Defence, the Shanghai Daily reported.

"I feel quite disappointed because I planned to turn the warship into a floating international school on the coast of Guangdong," Lam, 48, told the Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po newspaper.

A Turkish ship recycling factory won the bid at a price Lam said was far lower than his.

Lam who runs a restaurant chain in Birmingham said he would continue bidding for other decommissioned warships on the online platform.

Wen Wei Po said many suspected Lam failed the bidding due to "political reasons." But Lam said his intention was purely commercial.

"My intentions are purely commercial and have nothing to do with the military. We convert it into an international school to help foster communication and cultural ties between China and Britain," he said.

China till has no aircraft carrier and it is currently refurbishing an aircraft carrier bought from Ukraine in 1998, which will be its first such vessel.

The British aircraft carrier had served for 28 years in naval campaigns including conflicts in the Falklands, Iraq and the Balkans. The 500-metre-long warship could carry 22 warplanes and nearly 1,100 sailors.

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