Community & Education Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Colonial street names and royal cyphers on postboxes will not be removed, says Hong Kong gov’t

The government has said that it is not necessary to change colonial street names or remove royal cyphers from existing postboxes.

Last month, a member of Beijing’s top advisory body suggested removing and reducing symbols left behind from Hong Kong’s British colonial government, starting with place and street names.

Lawmaker Claudia Mo asked the government at a special Legislative Council finance committee session whether it will rename streets in a drive to remove colonial symbols. For instance, Oxford Road, Cambridge Road and Durham Road in Kowloon Tong are each named after places in the UK.

Oxford Road

Oxford Road. Photo: Apple Daily.

Secretary for Development Michael Wong said it was unnecessary to review street names and make changes.

“Even if we have to change them, the factors for consideration by the Lands Department will be related to the chaos and inconvenience that may be caused to residents, businesses and public services,” he said. “Removing colonial government symbols is not a factor for consideration.”

In 2015, Hongkong Post’s plans to cover royal emblems on 59 historic post-boxes sparked protests.

Claudia Mo and an old ERII post box.

Claudia Mo and an old ERII post box. Photo: Apple Daily and Wikimedia Commons.

After the Handover to China in 1997, most of the red post boxes were repainted green, but embossed royal cyphers, from “GRV” for King George V to “ERII” for Queen Elizabeth II, remained.

In response to Mo’s question, the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said: “We have received a wide range of opinions on the preservation of old posting boxes.”

“Having examined and taken full account of the opinions of different stakeholders, we do not consider it necessary to change the markings or cyphers on the existing old posting boxes.”

Mo said it was a clear answer and she welcomed it.

Colonial street names and royal cyphers on postboxes will not be removed, says Hong Kong gov't