24 October 2016

Royal emblem on postboxes must go, says postal service

Hongkong Post has spoken.

The royal insignia on postboxes will be nowhere in sight in the near future.

Hong Kong Post issued a statement Friday, which happens to be Love Post Day, ending speculation over the future of the colonial emblem.

The government considers the continued use of the royal insignia on colonial-era postboxes inappropriate, the statement said.

The postal service is looking into ways to update the markings on these boxes.

Hong Kong has about 1,150 of them, including 59 colonial-era cast-iron boxes.

These colonial boxes have been in use since the 1997 handover.

And for the past 18 years, they have been largely under the radar, with no one complaining about them.

In fact, a year ago, Hongkong Post made the case for their continued use.

Spokeswoman Aubrey Au told EJ Insight at the time that the postal office would continue to use and maintain the colonial postboxes from an environmental perspective.

Hong Kong people welcomed these boxes which have remained sturdy throughout the decades, Au said.

“It’s not right to say that having the royal crown on the post boxes is politically incorrect,” she said, adding that many coins in currency bear the Queen’s likeness.

However, colonial coins are getting harder to come by these days.

Tam Wing-pong, a retired postmaster general, told Now TV that the decision is inconsistent with practice, suggesting it’s beyond the authority of the postal service.

He said postboxes should be retired and replaced only if they are seriously damaged.

The decision is seen as part of a “decolonization” process advocated by Chen Zuoer, former deputy head of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.

Hong Kong Post said the government is considering the best way to preserve old postboxes and plans a public consultation on the matter.

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Campaign launched to preserve royal insignia on old mailboxes (Oct. 7, 2015)

Former postmaster calls for retention of colonial-era mailboxes (Oct. 6, 2015)

Hongkong Post may cover up British insignia on old mailboxes (Oct. 5, 2015)

Politically incorrect? HK to retain post boxes with royal crown (Oct. 28, 2014)

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