There are currently over 200 pro-democracy figures behind bars or in custody, according to 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
Activists Joshua Wong and Gwyneth Ho: Post Office Box No. 73962, Kowloon Central Post Office (You do not have to state the recipient if you wish to write to Ho.)
Former lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung and activist Jimmy Sham: Room B2, 4/F, Tat Cheung Factory Building, 3 Wing Ming St, Cheung Sha Wan.
Activist “Fast Beat” Tam Tak-chi and former legislator “Slow Beat” Raymond Chan: Room 619, Kinetic Industrial Centre, 7 Wang Kwong Road, Kowloon Bay.
District Councillor Tiffany Yuen: No. 8, G/F, Tin Lai House, Tin Wan Estate, Tin Wan.
Former lawmaker Eddie Chu: Unit 101, G/F, Hong Shui House, Shui Pin Wai Estate, Yuen Long.
Former lawmaker Wu Chi-wai: Office of District Councillor Tang Wai-keung, 1/F, 16 Sheung Fung Street, Wong Tai Sin.
District Councillors Tat Cheng and Lee Yue-shun: Office of District Councillor Jason Chan and Karrine Fu, G/F, Jones Mansion, 20 Cheung Hong Street, North Point.
Former chairwoman of Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) Carol Ng: 19/F, Wing Wong Building, 557 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei.
Chairwoman of Hospital Authority Employees Alliance Winnie Yu: Room 1603, Perfect Commercial Building, 20 Austin Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Pen pal pair-up services
Prisoners’ rights groups such as Wall-fare and Swallow Life pair up jailed protesters with members of the public as pen pals. You can send letters to these organisations if you wish to write to, or become pen pals with, lesser-known prisoners and remands.
Otherwise, if you wish to write to convicts or remands directly, one has to put the prisoner or remand’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.
Last updated: March 19, 2021.