Last updated: October 27, 2021.
There are currently over 200 pro-democracy figures behind bars or in custody, according to final figures provided by the soon-to-be-disbanded prisoners’ rights group Wall-fare. In all, there were – on average – 7,752 people serving time in Hong Kong in 2019, the latest year statistics are available.
Many people choose to post letters to people within the Hong Kong prison system to show their support, and many detainees invite the public to keep in touch. However, some rules apply.
Writing to key public figures in prison
Some well-known politicians and activists in custody or prison have designated addresses for helpers to organise letters before sending them on in batches.
A list of addresses of key democrats in custody or prison
Tam Tak-chi (“Fast beat”): P.O. Box no. 60141, Tsat Tsz Mui Post Office
Jeremy Tam Man-ho: Shop 7, G/F, Hung Fai Building, 2Q-2Z Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok (Three Meals)
Wu Chi-wai: P.O. Box no. 80205, Cheung Sha Wan Post Office
Lam Cheuk-ting, Andrew Wan Siu-kin, Yeung Sum: 4/F, Hanley House, 776-778 Nathan Road, Prince Edward (Headquarters of the Democratic Party)
Gary Fan Kwok-wai: P.O. Box no. 65010, Tseung Kwan O Post Office
Ben Chung: P.O. Box 91696, Tsim Sha Tsui Post Office
Ng Kin-wai: Store 19, 2/F, Phase 2, Kingswood Richly Plaza, 1 Tin Wu Road, Tin Shui Wai
Jimmy Sham, Leung Kwok-hung (“Long hair”), Figo Chan, Avery Ng, Raphael Wong, Tsang Kin-shing (“The Bull”): Rm B2, 4/F, Tai Cheong Factory Building, 3 Wing Ming Street, Cheung Sha Wan (League of Social Democrats)
Eddie Chu Hoi-dick: P.O. Box no. 1626, Yuen Long Post Office
Lester Shum: P.O. Box no. 33854, Sheung Wan Post Office
Tiffany Yuen Ka-wai: Unit 8, G/F, Tin Lai House, Tin Wan Estate, Aberdeen
Gwyneth Ho Kwai-lam and Joshua Wong: P.O. Box no. 73962, Kowloon Central Post Office (do not state the name of addressee on envelope)
Andy Chui Chi-kin: P.O. Box no. 78675, Mong Kok Post Office
Chow Hang-tung: P.O. Box no. 75 Ma On Shan Post Office
Pen pal pair-up services
Prisoners’ rights groups such as Wall-fare and Swallow Life used to pair up jailed protesters with members of the public as pen pals. Wall-fare has since begun the process of disbanding following criticism from Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security Chris Tang that prisoners were using privileges such as M&Ms and hair clips to recruit forces to “endanger” national security.
Swallow Life stopped updating their social media platforms, but their online pen pal matching service continues.
If you wish to write to any convict or someone on remand directly, one has to put the individual’s full name, registration number, and the facility that they are kept in on the envelope for the letter to reach them.
What can I write about?
Letters sent to prisoners and remands will be opened and searched by members of staff of the Correction Services Department (CSD). According to the Prison Rules, letters cannot include contents which mention illegal activities, obscenities, actions that might incite “physical violence or group disruption” inside prisons, or information and other materials related to escape plots.
It is also advisable to write the registration number of the person in prison or custody on each page of the letter. If you would like to include a return address for any replies, you should also write it in the letter, as the envelope will be taken away by the CSD.
You should not use glitter pens, correction tape or fluid, or put stickers or glitter on the letter.
Can I send cards?
Yes. However, each prisoner and remand can only keep 20 cards in their possession at a time, any extra cards will only be given to them upon their release or thrown away.
Can I send gifts or money?
You are not allowed to put anything else in the envelope apart from the letter, including stamps, money, return envelopes, or newspaper clippings. Any other items included in the letter will only be given to the prisoners when they are released.
Books, food, and some other items approved by the CSD can only be given to prisoners during social visits.
How many letters can I send?
There is no limit to the number of letters a person in custody or prison can receive. However, a prisoner can only send one maximum-four-page letter per week at the public expense, and they have to pay for the stationery and postage for any additional letters.
How can I visit prisoners or remands?
You can only visit people in custody or prison if they have declared you as a visitor. Once declared, persons remanded in custody can be visited once daily for no more than 15 minutes, while prisoners are allowed visits twice a month for no more than 30 minutes each time.
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