Major Speeches, Presentations and Press Releases

LCQ8: Guarding against thefts of mail items

     Following is a question by the Hon Albert Chan and a written reply by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, in the Legislative Council today (February 25):


     It has been reported that thefts of mail items have occurred from time to time in recent years. Quite a number of members of the public have queried that the Hongkong Post (HKP) has not handled mail items properly, resulting in some of them being stolen. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of cases of mail items lost in each of the past three years and the number of mail items involved; among them, the number of cases referred to the Police for follow-up because of suspected thefts of mail items;

(2) how Hong Kong compares to the developed places in Asia, such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. in respect of thefts of mail items, including whether the situation in Hong Kong is more serious;

(3) whether it has analysed the reasons for the occurrence of a number of thefts of mail items in recent years; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(4) whether HKP has measures in place to improve the procedures for handling mail items to guard against thefts of mail items; if it does, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



     Hongkong Post is committed to providing reliable postal services to the public. My reply to the question is as follows:

(1) According to the records of Hongkong Post, the statistics of loss of mail items during the course of mail processing in Hong Kong (i.e. covering the local processing of local mail items, inbound mail items and outbound mail items) in the past three years are as follows:

Year    Number of cases    Number of mail items lost
------    ---------------------     ----------------------------
2012    518                         665
2013    378                         534
2014    79                           495

     In the past three years, four suspected cases of thefts of mail items were referred to the Police for follow-up.

In respect of outbound mail items, the conveyance, processing and delivery of mail items have to be handled by airlines or shipping agents and other postal administrations. As confirmed with the organisations concerned, the numbers of outbound mail items lost during the process from uplift to delivery in the past three years are as follows:

Year    Number of mail items lost
------    -------------------------
2012    12 720
2013    17 357
2014    4 915

     With Hongkong Post handling about 1.2 billion mail items annually, the great majority of mail items were dealt with in a secure manner.

(2) As Hongkong Post does not have the statistics on mail theft cases elsewhere, we are unable to make a comparison.

(3) Generally speaking, thefts of mail items occur under two situations, i.e. (i) in the course of mail processing to delivery after posting; or (ii) after delivery. Under the first situation, it is mainly due to the negligence of the personnel involved in mail processing (including the staff of airlines, shipping agents and other postal administrations), who fail to safeguard mail security in accordance with the established procedures. In the latter situation, the common cause is that the recipient has not installed a safe and secure letter box, thus resulting in theft of mail items. It is unrelated to the personnel involved in mail processing. To this end, Hongkong Post frequently appeals to the public to install a safe and secure letter box and avoid sending valuables by ordinary mail.

(4) All along, Hongkong Post attaches importance to safeguarding mail security and requires its staff to strictly comply with the relevant legislation and departmental rules. These rules stipulate relevant requirements to ensure mail security, such as stringent procedures on mail acceptance and reconciliation and mail conveyance, storage and safe custody of mail items in the course of delivery, as well as security monitoring measures at workplaces, etc. Supervisory staff would conduct regular inspections to ensure compliance with the requirements on ensuring mail security, and keep the relevant requirements under review for continuous enhancement of the security mechanism. Hongkong Post also arranges induction training on safeguarding mail security for all staff handling mail items and circulates the relevant rules and guidelines at regular intervals to remind its staff to strictly comply with them.

Ends/Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Issued at HKT 12:53