Hongkong Post may cover up British insignia on old mailboxes

October 05, 2015 11:20
Heritage activists are urging the postal department to retain the old mailboxes that bear British royal insignia. Photos: https://hkoldpostbox.wordpress.com

With "decolonization" becoming the buzzword in pro-Beijing circles, Hongkong Post is said to be mulling plans to cover up the British royal insignia that many old mailboxes in the city still bear.

The department said in March that it is not desirable to have postboxes that show various royal cyphers from different British reigns.

Now it has decided to use metal plates to cover the cyphers, according to two local groups that have been lobbying for preservation of the old postboxes.

The department, however, assured that it will place seven old mailboxes inside historical buildings to ensure their preservation, Ming Pao Daily cited the groups -- the Conservancy Association, and the Mailboxes Searching Team -- as saying.

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

As of now, old mailboxes with royal cyphers are said to make up for about 5 percent of the total mailboxes in Hong Kong.

The Conservancy Association and the Mailboxes Searching Team -- a local preservation organization -- have both strongly voiced their opposition to the plans to change the old mailboxes.

Activists say the number of colonial postboxes has already gone down significantly over the years. In 1997, when Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule, the city was said to have had 144 such old mailboxes.

Lee Siu-man, senior public affairs manager of the Conservancy Association, said the reason given by the Hongkong Post was lame.

Describing the old postboxes as "living heritage", he questioned the department's plans to transform them.

Sin Wai-man, founder of the Mailboxes Searching Team, also expressed similar views, pointing out that the royal ciphers reflect the territory's history. 

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