Hongkong Post

Hongkong Post is a government department of Hong Kong responsible for postal services, though operated as a trading fund. Founded in 1841, it was known as Postal Department or Post Office[2] (Chinese: 郵政署) before the handover of Hong Kong in 1997. It has been a sub-member of the Universal Postal Union since 1877, and is a separate entity from China Post.

Hongkong Post
TypeTrading fund
IndustryPost, philately
GenrePostal service
Founded1841 (1841)
FounderRoyal Mail
HeadquartersHongkong Post Headquarters,
2 Connaught Place, Central[1],
Hong Kong
Area served
Hong Kong
Key people
Cathy Chu, Postmaster General and general manager of the Post Office Trading Fund
Productsmail delivery, philatelic products
ServicesPostal services, Philatelic services
RevenueHKD$5,176,000,000 (2013)
OwnerGovernment of Hong Kong
Number of employees
over 7053 (2013)
ParentGovernment of Hong Kong
Hongkong Post
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Post Office
Traditional Chinese郵政署
Simplified Chinese邮政署


General Post Office circa 1911.

Merchants traded in Hong Kong on the two sides of Victoria Harbour as early as before the British possession in 1842. They complained about the absence of proper postal services and therefore the Postal Department was established.

The department was founded on 28 August 1841, but the first post office (known as 書信館 at that time), situated near the current site of St. John's Cathedral, opened on 12 November 1841. At first, its right to operation belonged to the Royal Mail, until its transfer to the Postmaster General on 1 May 1860.

On 8 December 1862, the office issued the first set of Hong Kong postal stamps. Before this time, only British troops in Hong Kong could use British stamps, while other local residents did not have access to British stamps. Until the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997, mail for British forces serving in the then-colony used the British Forces Post Office number, BFPO 1.[3]

The office introduced automated mail sorting in 1989, and machines were installed in the General Post Office.[4]

There is no post code system in Hong Kong, although one has been under consideration since 2000.[5]

Since August 1995, the office has operated as a trading fund and the full title of the head of the Office became "Postmaster General and general manager of the Post Office Trading Fund" (Chinese: 香港郵政署長兼郵政署營運基金總經理).

Postal history

During the colonial era, Hong Kong produced postage stamps simply bearing the name Hong Kong, printed alongside the likenesses (in profile) of the reigning monarchs of the United Kingdom, or royal symbols (for example, "EIIR").

Since Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997, stamps issued have borne the name "Hong Kong, China". British Hong Kong postage stamps are no longer valid for prepayment of postage and cannot be repurchased by the Post Office.

Post offices

Hongkong Post operates 128 post offices throughout Hong Kong. As of 2007, 34 post offices existed on Hong Kong Island, 42 in Kowloon, 45 in the New Territories and 8 on the Outlying Islands. Two mobile post offices provide postal services in remote areas in the New Territories.

Post boxes

Hong Kong imported post-boxes from the UK until the practice was discontinued in the 1980s. Before 1997, the post boxes were painted red, as in the United Kingdom, and were engraved with the royal cypher – for example, "EIIR" to represent Queen Elizabeth II. According to fans of Hong Kong's history, featuring the regal insignia on many of the George V and George VI post boxes in Hong Kong are unique as they are different in design from other British post boxes in the world.[6] Since the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997, the livery of the boxes became green, and were adorned with the new Hongkong Post logo.[6]

HongKong Post box bearing insignia of King George V, made during the colonial era, but painted in green from red after 1997

As of October 2015, there are 1,148 free-standing post-boxes in Hong Kong; only 59 colonial post boxes bearing the royal insignia were still in service.[6] In late 2014 Hongkong Post reaffirmed its policy that the remaining 59 colonial-era post boxes would only be replaced if they were seriously damaged or no longer meet the demand of its customers.[7]


This department of government said in March 2015 that it was considering covering up the regal insignia on these post boxes, on grounds that it was "not desirable to have postboxes that show various royal cyphers from different British reigns" and to "avoid confusion". Controversy ignited in September upon confirmation that royal cyphers would be covered up by fixing metal plates on all but seven of the historical post boxes. The decision was decried by the Conservancy Association, the Mailboxes Searching Team, and activists opposed to the push of pro-Beijing politicians to "de-colonialise" Hong Kong.[8][9] According to legislator Claudia Mo of the Civic Party, senior HK Post officials she talked with affirmed that the order to obscure regal insignia on the 59 colonial post boxes came from the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB), which Mo said pointed to a political and not administrative decision.[9]



In addition to making its income from traditional postal delivery, Hongkong Post also sells philatelic products, and is used by the Government and utility companies to accept payment from customers.


Hongkong Post Stamps was a division set up in 1974, charged with promoting and popularising stamp collecting, to meet the ever-increasing demand for Hong Kong stamps by collectors. The division conducts three main areas of work:

  • stamp product design and production
  • fulfilment and advance ordering service
  • philatelic marketing.

Owing to the territory's conservative stamp-issuing policy, stamp collecting in Hong Kong is a popular hobby. Different types of attractively designed stamp products are also popular with stamp collectors around the world.


A SpeedPost delivery van

Hongkong Post also provides services listed below:


  • In 2005, newspapers revealed the presence of pinhole cameras in Cheung Sha Wan Post Office, and this was perceived as a violation of people's privacy.[10] Hongkong Post explained that the cameras were necessary for facilitating police investigations into several suspected theft cases.[11]
  • In March 2007, two postal staff lost three bags of mail, destined for Wan Chai and the Eastern District, in the management offices of Hongkong Post buildings. Although Hongkong Post eventually found one of the lost bags, 400 letters were reportedly lost.


  • Winner of the 2005 "Hong Kong Awards for Industries – Productivity and Quality Award" for achievement in productivity enhancement and total quality management.[12]
  • Winner of the Caring Organisation Logo 2005/06 by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service.
  • Winner of the Gold Level Certification in the Universal Postal Union EMS Cooperative Audit and Measurement Programme 2005.
  • Winner of the Web Care Award 2005 – Gold Prize from Internet Professional Association.
  • Guinness World Record holder for the largest stamp mosaic.[13]

List of Postmasters-General

A tablet displayed inside the General Post Office, Hong Kong, showing a list of the Postmasters General of Hong Kong between 1841 and 2003
Date of Appointment
1 T. G. Fitzgibbon 25 August 1841 Clerk-in-Charge
2 D. Mullaly 8 October 1841
3 Robert Edwards April 1842
4 F. Spring 1843
5 Thomas Jackson Scales April 1844
6 Thomas Hyland
7 William Chapman 14 May 1857
8 Francis William Mitchell
24 November 1862
9 Alfred Lister
24 April 1875
10 Arthur Kennedy Travers
1 January 1891
11 Alexander MacDonald Thomson
17 October 1896
12 Cmdr. William Charles Holland Hastings
15 February 1899 Died in office
13 Lewis Audley Marsh Johnston
23 January 1903 Died in office
14 Charles McIlvaine Messer
18 November 1908
15 Edward Dudley Corscaden Wolfe
19 April 1913
16 Stewart Buckle Carne Ross
1 February 1917
17 Michael James Breen
22 March 1924
18 Geoffrey Robley Sayer
28 April 1928
19 Norman Lockhart Smith
12 October 1928
(17) Michael James Breen
7 February 1930 Second time
20 Eric William Hamilton
18 July 1931
(17) Michael James Breen
21 April 1932 Third time
21 William James Carrie
3 June 1933
(17) Michael James Breen
22 February 1934 Fourth time
22 Henry Robert Butters
23 March 1936
23 Edward Irvine Wynne-Jones
12 December 1936
24 Robert Andrew Dermod Forrest
12 January 1940
(23) Edward Irvine Wynne-Jones
10 January 1941 Second time
Hong Kong under Japanese occupation from 25 December 1941 to 15 August 1945
(23) Edward Irvine Wynne-Jones
13 June 1946 Third time
25 John Henry Burkill Lee
23 February 1948
26 Leonard Charles Saville
8 March 1950
27 Alfred George Crook
1 August 1958
28 Cecil George Folwell
22 March 1968
29 Malki Addi
19 March 1971 First non-European
30 David John Kyle Bamford
7 March 1977
31 Arthur Cyril Heathcote
8 January 1980
32 Hugh Gordon Ardley
23 December 1982
33 Gordon K. C. Siu
18 March 1988 First ethnic Chinese
34 Dominic S. W. Wong
18 September 1989
35 Michelangelo Pagliari
11 May 1992
36 Robert Footman
20 November 1995 Last expatriate
37 Luk Ping-chuen
24 November 1998
38 Allan Chiang Yam-wang
31 March 2003
39 Tam Wing-pong
10 July 2006
40 Clement Cheung Wan-ching
14 September 2009
41 Jessie Ting Yip Yin-mei
3 October 2011 First female
42 Gordon Leung Chung-tai
10 July 2017
43 Cathy Chu Man-ling
9 September 2019

See also




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