A campaign encouraging the public to send letters to the Postmaster General to save royal cyphers on historic post boxes has been initiated, following news that Hongkong Post planned to cover them to ‘avoid confusion’.

The campaign organisers urge people to send postcards as personal local letters to Postmaster General Jessie Ting Yip Yin-mei, addressed to General Post Office in Central, to express their dissatisfaction on World Post Day on October 9.

It will be free of charge to send personal local letters during working hours on the special day. Stamps will not be required, but the letters have to be dropped into a special collection box placed at all post offices. Hongkong Post has been running the free local postal occasion, dubbed the ‘Love Post Day’ for 13 consecutive years.

Postmaster General Jessie Ting Yip Yin-mei
Postmaster General Jessie Ting Yip Yin-mei. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Lawmakers Claudia Mo and Gary Fan sent letters to the Postmaster General on Tuesday suggesting Hongkong Post should continue to use the historic post boxes, and to maintain ‘living heritage’ for people to learn local history and culture.

“Existing heritage should not be intentionally removed, put into museums and taken away from daily lives. They should be preserved in the community as much as possible, to make it easier for people to get in touch with, and understand, how these connect to the current lives of the people,” they wrote.

Former Postmaster General Tam Wing-pong also spoke against the plan on a Commercial Radio programme on Monday. Tam said post boxes could be used for a long period of time and they were part of the history of Hong Kong.

“[The old post boxes] should be kept in the state as they are now, it is practical and controversies can be avoided,” he said.

A post box with ERII (left) and GRV (right).
A post box with the ERII (left) and GRV (right) cyphers. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

On Monday, local media reported that Hongkong Post planned to cover the royal cyphers on 59 street post boxes from the British era in order to avoid confusion with the other post boxes. Once decommissioned, there were also plans to move some of the old post boxes to historic buildings for the public to visit.

The 59 old post boxes remaining in use in Hong Kong are of different ages, including seven with the royal cyphers GRV for King George V, two with GRVI for King George VI, 49 with ERII for Queen Elizabeth II, and just one with a Crown of Scotland in Central, according to the website of HK Post-Box Search Team.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.