Date
29 March 2017
Workers remove letters at a colonial-era mailbox on Shanghai Street in Yau Ma Tei after it was set on fire on Tuesday morning. Photos: Google Map, Ming Pao
Workers remove letters at a colonial-era mailbox on Shanghai Street in Yau Ma Tei after it was set on fire on Tuesday morning. Photos: Google Map, Ming Pao

Police probe fire at colonial-era mailbox in Yau Ma Tei as arson

A colonial-era mailbox with the British insignia in Yau Ma Tei was set on fire at around 7 a.m. on Tuesday.

Witnesses saw dark smoke billowing out of the mailbox and called the fire department, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Responding firemen put out the fire, but most of the letters inside were either burnt or soaked in water, Ming Pao Daily reported on Wednesday. The letters were later taken away by postal workers.

Police are investigating the case as arson. They said someone had lit up a towel and thrown it into the mailbox.

The mailbox, located on Shanghai Street, is one of the 59 colonial-era postboxes in Hong Kong. It carries the Queen Elizabeth II cypher. 

The post office said about 80 letters were found inside the mailbox, eight of them badly burnt and the others mostly waterlogged.

The mailbox was ready for use again at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The post office said those who dropped letters in the mailbox between 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday morning may call 2356 2516. 

Barrister Luk Wai-hung said if the letters were damaged during delivery, people could claim damage from the post office.

However, the post office is not responsible for letters set on fire or damaged by a third party.

If a suspect is arrested, those who posted the letters can claim damage through civil procedures, Luk said.

In October, the Hong Kong Post said in a statement that the government considers the continued use of the royal insignia on colonial-era postboxes inappropriate. 

There are now 59 postboxes bearing the cyphers of King George V, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II in Hong Kong. The most unique is an oval-shaped mailbox in Central that features a Scottish Crown.

Royal emblem on postboxes must go, says postal service (Oct. 9, 2015)

– Contact us at [email protected]

BT/JP/CG

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe