Post Office Ordinance


Published: 2012-08-02

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Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 1

Chapter: 98 Post Office Ordinance Gazette Number Version Date

Long title E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


To amend the law relating to the Post Office.


[1 July 1926]

(Originally 7 of 1926 (Cap 98 1950 Ed.))

(*Format changes—E.R. 2 of 2012)
_________________________________________________________________________________
Note:
* The format of the Ordinance has been updated to the current legislative styles.

Section: 1 Short title E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


This Ordinance may be cited as the Post Office Ordinance.

Section: 2 Interpretation E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires-
clubbed packet (合寄郵包) means a packet containing a collection of Chinese letters made up by any person not

being an officer of the Post Office and transmitted by post with a view to the letters inclosed in such packet
being delivered to more than one person through the agent of the person by whom the packet was made up;

contract ship (合約船舶) means any ship which is under contract with the Postmaster General or with any postal
authority for the conveyance of mails; (Amended 23 of 1998 s. 2)

letter (信件) includes every communication from one person or body of persons to another person or body of persons,
sent on any material, by means of any words or other signs, however produced on such material so sent;

mail bag (郵袋) means any bag, basket, box, parcel, or other envelope or covering, in which postal articles in course
of transmission by post are conveyed, whether it does or does not contain any such postal article; [cf. 1908 c. 48
s. 89 U.K.]

master of a ship (船長) includes every person (except a pilot) having command or charge of a ship; [cf. 1908 c. 48 s.
89 U.K.]

officer of the Post Office (郵政署人員) includes the Postmaster General and every other person employed in any
business of the Postal Department or on behalf of the Postal Department; [cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 89 U.K.]

person (人), except so far as relates to the imposition of the penalty of imprisonment, includes a body corporate and a
firm; (cf. s. 37(2) & (3))

Post Office (郵政署) includes every house, building, room, vessel, carriage and place used for the purposes of the
postal Department, and every post office letter box; [cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 89 U.K.]

post office letter box (郵政局信箱) includes every pillar box and wall box and every other box or receptacle
provided by or under the authority of the Postmaster General for the purpose of receiving postal articles for
transmission by or under the authority of the Postmaster General; [cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 89 U.K.]

postage stamp (郵資印花) means any label or stamp for denoting any rate of postage payable in respect of postal
articles, and includes adhesive postage stamps and stamps printed, embossed, impressed or otherwise indicated
on any envelope, wrapper, postcard or other article, whether such postage stamp is issued under this Ordinance
or by any postal authority; (Amended 23 of 1998 s. 2)

postal article (郵遞品) includes everything which is transmissible by post;
postal packet (郵包) means a postal article, or a collection of postal articles, which is in course of transmission by

post as one postal unit;
Postmaster General (署長) means, unless Her Majesty's Postmaster General is indicated, the Postmaster General of

Hong Kong, and includes the deputy postmaster general and every assistant postmaster general; (Amended 1 of



Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 2

1987 s. 8; 46 of 1992 s. 2)
ship (船舶) includes every description of vessel used in navigation and every description of aircraft.
(2) For the purposes of this Ordinance-

(a) a postal article shall be deemed to be in course of transmission by post from the time of its being duly
delivered to a post office to the time of its being delivered to the addressee or its being returned to the
sender or otherwise disposed of under the provisions of this Ordinance;

(b) the placing of a postal article in any receiving box for the deposit of postal articles or the delivery of an
article to an officer of the post office in the course of his duties shall be deemed to be delivery to a post
office; and

(c) the following shall be deemed to be delivery of a postal packet to the addressee-
(i) delivery according to the usual manner of delivering postal packets to the addressee; or
(ii) delivery at the house or office of the addressee; or
(iii) delivery to the addressee or to his servant or agent or other person having authority to receive such

packet; or
(iv) when the addressee is a guest and is resident at an hotel, delivery to the proprietor or manager thereof

or to his agent. [cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 90 U.K.]

Section: 3 Regulations E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


The Governor in Council may by regulation provide for any of the following matters-
(a) cash on delivery parcels;
(b) compensation for loss of or damage to postal packets;
(c) fines for insufficient postage;
(d) gratuities for the conveyance of postal packets by sea;
(e) insurance of postal packets;
(f) late fees;
(g) limitations of the form, size, weight and contents of postal packets;
(h) money orders, telegraph money orders, postal orders and postal notes;
(i) parcels;
(j) payment of postage;
(k) postal notes and postal orders;
(l) private boxes;
(m) private travelling letter boxes;
(n) prohibited articles and their treatment and disposal;
(o) registration;
(p) stamps, reply coupons, and stamped postal stationery;
(q) undelivered postal articles;
(r) the prescribing of any fees which may appear to the Governor in Council to be desirable in connection with

the maintenance of a postal service;
(s) any other matters in respect of which it may appear to the Governor in Council to be desirable to make

regulations for the purpose of the maintenance of a postal service.
(Amended 33 of 1939; G.N. 840 of 1940 Supp. Schedule)


Section: 4 Rates of postage E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) The Postmaster General may subject to any direction of the Governor in Council determine the rates of postage
to be charged on postal articles and the rates for the time being in force shall be exhibited and kept exhibited at
the Post Office.

(2) The Governor in Council may at any time by order revise any rates of postage determined by the Postmaster
General and such revised rates shall come into operation as from the notification of such order in the Gazette.

(Replaced 52 of 1948 s. 2)




Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 3

Section: 4A Charity postage stamps E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) With the approval of the Governor in Council, the Postmaster General may issue an adhesive charity postage
stamp that bears, in addition to its regular postage denomination, a denomination signifying a donation of that
amount by the purchaser to the charitable institution identified on the stamp.

(2) The Postmaster General shall not sell a charity postage stamp at any place unless a stamp of the same postage
denomination is also available for purchase there.

(3) The Postmaster General may retain from the money received as the donation portion of the sale of charity
postage stamps an amount equal to the costs related to them and shall pay the retained amount into the general
revenue.

(Added 21 of 1988 s. 2)

Section: 5 Appointment of officers E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


It shall be lawful for the Governor to appoint a Postmaster General and such other officers of the Post Office as he
may think fit.

(Amended 33 of 1939; G.N. 840 of 1940 Supp. Schedule)

Section: 6 Exclusive privilege of Postmaster General E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) The Postmaster General, by himself or by the officers of the Post Office, shall have the exclusive privilege of-
(a) conveying letters from one place to another within Hong Kong;
(b) sending letters out of Hong Kong for delivery outside Hong Kong;
(c) receiving letters brought into Hong Kong for delivery in Hong Kong; and
(d) receiving letters brought into Hong Kong for transmission to some place outside Hong Kong, other than

letters contained in mail bags passing through the waters of Hong Kong without transhipment,
and shall also have the exclusive privilege of performing all the incidental services of receiving, collecting,

sending, dispatching and delivering all such letters, except in the following cases-
(i) letters not exceeding 3 in number sent by a private friend on his way, journey or travel, provided that such

letters are delivered by that friend to the person or persons to whom they are directed, without hire, reward
or other profit or advantage for receiving, carrying or delivering them;

(ii) letters concerning the affairs of the sender or receiver thereof sent by a messenger employed for that
purpose;

(iii) letters solely concerning particular goods, sent by the same vessel as the goods, to be delivered with the
goods, without hire, reward or other profit or advantage for receiving, carrying or delivering such letters,
provided that such letters are open to inspection and have superscribed thereon the words "Consignee's
letter" or "收貨人的信件" or other words to the same effect; (Amended 80 of 1997 s. 110)

(iv) telegrams sent out by any telegraph company; and
(v) letters of merchants, owners of vessels or aircraft of merchandise, or the cargo or loading therein, sent by

those vessels or aircraft of merchandise or by any person employed by those owners for the carriage of
those letters, according to their respective directions, and delivered to the respective persons to whom they
are directed, without paying or receiving hire or reward, advantage or profit for the same in anywise.
(Added 22 of 1940 s. 2)

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection (1), it shall be lawful for any person licensed by the
Postmaster General to collect letters for transmission to China through the Post Office, and to receive clubbed
packets from China through the Post Office, subject to the provisions of any regulations made under this
Ordinance and subject to the conditions of his licence.

(3) Subject to the exemptions from the Postmaster General's exclusive privilege which are contained in subsections
(1) and (2), no person shall-
(a) collect any letters with a view to the delivery of such letters anywhere otherwise than through the post; or
(b) have in his possession any letter with a view to the delivery of such letter anywhere otherwise than through

the post; or
(c) send any letter out of Hong Kong otherwise than through the post; or
(d) without lawful authority or excuse bring any letter into Hong Kong with a view to the delivery of such letter



Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 4

anywhere; or
(e) without lawful authority or excuse have in his possession any letter brought into Hong Kong, or delivered,

otherwise than through the post.
(4) No person shall in any other way infringe the exclusive privilege of the Postmaster General.
(5) It shall be lawful for the Governor in Council to order that the provisions of this section shall also apply to any

particular kind or kinds of postal article other than letters, subject to such exceptions and conditions (if any) as
the Governor in Council may think fit.

(Amended 1 of 1987 s. 8)
[cf. 1908 c. 48 ss. 30 & 34(2) U.K.]


Section: 7 Exemption from liability E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) The Government shall not incur any liability by reason of the loss, non-delivery, misdelivery or delay of any
postal packet, or by reason of any damage to any postal packet, whether registered or not.

(2) No officer of the Post Office shall incur any liability by reason of such loss, non-delivery, misdelivery, delay or
damage, except in the case of fraud or wilful misbehaviour.

(3) Neither the Government nor any officer of the Post Office shall incur any liability for the loss, non-delivery,
misdelivery or delay of, or damage to, any postal article, whether registered or not, caused by the act or default
of any person licensed in accordance with subsection (2) of section 6, or caused by the act or default of any
servant or agent of any such licensed person.

(4) Once a money order, telegraph money order, postal order or postal note has been paid to any person by an
officer of the Post Office or by an officer of any other postal authority— (Amended 15 of 2011 s. 85)
(a) all liability of the Government in respect of the money order, telegraph money order, postal order or postal

note ceases; and
(b) except in the case of fraud or wilful misbehaviour and except as provided under the Anti-Money

Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance (Cap 615), no officer of the
Post Office is to be liable in respect of the money order, telegraph money order, postal order or postal note
after the payment. (Amended 23 of 1998 s. 2; 15 of 2011 s. 85)

[cf. 1908 c. 48 ss. 13 & 23 U.K.]

Section: 8 Decision of Postmaster General as to classification of

postal packets final
E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



The decision of the Postmaster General as to whether any postal packet is or contains a circular, a letter, a newspaper,
a parcel, a postcard, a printed paper or literature for the blind, and any other decision of the Postmaster General as to
the classification of any postal article, shall be final for all purposes.

(Amended 34 of 1971 s. 2)
[cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 19 U.K.]


Section: 9 Discretion as to relative urgency E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


It shall be lawful for the Postmaster General in his discretion to decide any question as to the relative urgency of
particular mails or particular classes of postal packets and to postpone the delivery or dispatch of any mails or postal
packets to the delivery or dispatch of any more urgent mails or postal packets.

[cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 15 U.K.]

Section: 10 Postal packets which cannot be dispatched or delivered E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


It shall be lawful for any officer of the Post Office to open-
(a) any postal packet upon which the prepayment of postage is compulsory and upon which the proper postage

has not been paid; and
(b) any postal packet which is returned to the Post Office for want of a proper address or from inability to find

the person to whom it is addressed or because the addressee refuses to accept it, or which in the opinion of
the Postmaster General cannot for any other reason be delivered.



Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 5


Section: 11 Postal packets posted by mistake or with wrong or

deficient contents
E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



When any postal packet has been posted by mistake, or has been posted with wrong or deficient contents, it shall be
lawful for the Postmaster General in his discretion to return such postal packet to the sender on payment of such fee (if
any) as may be prescribed by regulation made under this Ordinance.

Section: 12 Postal packets which contravene the law, etc. E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


If the Postmaster General has reason to believe that any postal packet has been posted or sent by post in contravention
of this Ordinance or of any regulation made thereunder, or that any postal packet whatsoever contains anything which
may not legally be sent by post, or contains anything with respect to which or by means of which any offence
whatsoever has been or is being committed or attempted, or contains any dutiable article, it shall be lawful for him to
open such postal packet and to delay such postal packet and its contents.

[cf. 1908 c. 48 ss. 17 & 18 U.K.]

Section: 13 (Repealed 20 of 2006 s. 68) 20 of 2006 09/08/2006




Section: 14 Disposal of postal packets opened under section 10 or 12* E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


Any postal packet opened under the authority of section 10 or 12, and the contents of any such postal packet, shall,
subject to the provisions of section 32(5) and subject to any regulations made under this Ordinance, be dealt with in
accordance with the following provisions- (Amended 20 of 2006 s. 68)

(a) if the Governor gives any direction as to how any such postal packet or its contents or any of its contents
shall be dealt with, such postal packet and contents shall be dealt with according to such direction;

(b) subject to any direction of the Governor, if such postal packet or any of its contents is required for the
purpose of any pending or contemplated criminal or forfeiture proceedings whatsoever, such postal packet
or contents shall be retained by the proper officer so long as may reasonably be necessary for the purpose of
such pending or contemplated proceedings;

(c) subject to any direction of the Governor, if such postal packet and its contents are not required, or are no
longer required, for any criminal or forfeiture proceedings and if the postal packet and its contents can, and
may lawfully, be forwarded or delivered to the addressee, the postal packet and its contents shall be so
forwarded or delivered;

(d) subject to any direction of the Governor, if such postal packet cannot, or may not lawfully, be forwarded or
delivered to the addressee or if there is no addressee, such postal article and its contents shall if possible be
returned to the sender.

[cf. 1908 c. 48 ss. 17 & 18 U.K.]
_________________________________________________________________________________
Note:
* (Amended 20 of 2006 s. 68)

Section: 15 Extension of sections 12 and 14 to articles not transmissible

by post*
E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



The provisions of sections 12 and 14 shall extend also to all articles tendered to or received by the Post Office for
transmission by post or delivery, and to the contents of all such articles, whether such articles or contents be
transmissible by post or not.

(Amended 20 of 2006 s. 68)
_________________________________________________________________________________
Note:
* (Amended 20 of 2006 s. 68)




Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 6

Section: 16 Masters of ships to deliver postal packets to Post Office
without delay

E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



Every master of a ship having on board any postal packets which are within the exclusive privilege conferred on the
Postmaster General by or under section 6, or any postal packets which have been received by him for delivery to the
Postmaster General, shall, immediately upon the arrival of such ship in Hong Kong and before reporting at the Marine
Department, deliver all such postal packets at the General Post Office or to some officer of the Post Office or other
person authorized by the Postmaster General to receive the same.

(Amended 1 of 1987 s. 8)
[cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 27 U.K.]


Section: 17 Notice to be given to Postmaster General of departure of

ships
E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



(1) Every owner of a ship, other than a ship plying daily or on fixed days to Macao or to any place on the Canton
River or West River, proposing to dispatch such ship from Hong Kong to any place outside Hong Kong, shall
give reasonable notice in writing to the Postmaster General of the day and hour of the intended departure of such
ship, of the berth at which such ship is lying and of the places at which such ship is to call, and shall give
immediate notice in writing to the Postmaster General of any alteration in the day or hour of departure or of the
berth or of the places of call.

(2) If the ship is on charter the notice shall be given by the charterer.
(3) Notice by an agent shall be deemed also to be notice by the owner or charterer, as the case may be.
(4) If the owner or charterer is not in Hong Kong the obligation to give notice shall lie on his agents.
(5) Reasonable notice in writing shall be given to the Postmaster General of every alteration of the hour of departure

of any ship plying daily or on fixed days to Macao or to any place on the Canton River or West River. The
obligation to give such notice shall lie on the person on whom it would have lain if the ship had not been within
the exception specified in subsection (1).

(6) In general a notice shall not be deemed to be reasonable for the purposes of this section unless it is given in time
to enable the Postmaster General to inform the public by notice in the public press of the day and hour for
closing the mails by the ship in question.

(Amended 1 of 1987 s. 8)

Section: 18 Masters of ships to accept postal packets or mail bags for

conveyance
E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



Every master of a ship (not being or having the status of a ship of war) about to depart from Hong Kong to any place
outside Hong Kong shall receive on board any postal packets or mail bags tendered to him by any officer of the Post
Office for conveyance and shall give a receipt therefor in such form as the Postmaster General prescribes.

(Amended 1 of 1987 s. 8)
[cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 26 U.K.]


Section: 19 Gratuities to masters of ships for conveyance of postal

packets
E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



(1) It shall be lawful for the Postmaster General to pay to the masters of ships, not being Government or contract
ships, for the conveyance of postal packets, gratuities at such rates as may be prescribed in any regulations made
under this Ordinance.

(2) Before payment is made the Postmaster General may require the master of any ship by which any postal packets
have been conveyed to produce a certificate from the post office of destination that such postal packets have
been duly received from him.

(3) No gratuity shall be payable-
(a) unless application be made for payment within 12 months of the receipt by the master of the ship of the

postal packets in respect of which the gratuity is claimed; or
(b) if there has been unreasonable delay on the part of the master in delivering the postal packets at the post



Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 7

office of destination; or
(c) if any of the postal packets have been damaged in transit, unless the master proves to the satisfaction of the

Postmaster General that such damage was not due to any fault or lack of sufficient care on his part.
(4) If the master of any vessel satisfies the Postmaster General that he will not return to Hong Kong within the 12

months prescribed by subsection (3)(a), it shall be lawful for the Postmaster General to pay a gratuity in
advance. (Amended 1 of 1987 s. 8)

[cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 31 U.K.]

Section: 20 Damages for non-delivery of postal packets or mail bags E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


Every master of a ship to whom any postal packets are delivered under section 18 shall be deemed to contract with the
Postmaster General that, in consideration of the gratuity payable in respect of such postal packets, he will duly deliver
the said postal packets to the postal authority to whom the same are addressed immediately on his arrival in any port,
without wilful or avoidable delay, and that if he fails in any respect to perform such contract he will pay to the
Postmaster General the sum of $10000 as liquidated damages for the breach thereof.

(Amended 1 of 1987 s. 2)

Section: 21 Liability for payment of postage, etc. E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) Save where the Postmaster General otherwise permits, the postage chargeable on every postal packet posted in
Hong Kong, except a letter, shall be prepaid in full. (Amended 1 of 1987 s. 3)

(2) It shall be lawful for the Postmaster General to refuse to receive any postal packets, including letters, tendered
for posting, unless the postage and any other sum chargeable thereon has been fully prepaid. (Amended 33 of
1939; G.N. 840 of 1940 Supp. Schedule)

(3) Where the postage on any postal packet is required to be prepaid and has not been prepaid or has not been fully
prepaid, there shall be chargeable upon such postal packet such surcharge as may be prescribed in regulations
made by the Governor in Council. (Replaced 81 of 1975 s. 2. Amended 1 of 1987 s. 3)

(4) Where a postal packet has been posted in Hong Kong and is addressed to an addressee in Hong Kong and the
postage or any other sum chargeable on such postal packet is required to be prepaid and has not been paid or has
not been fully paid, payment under this section shall be made- (Amended 81 of 1975 s. 2; 1 of 1987 s. 3)
(a) by the addressee, upon delivery of the postal packet to him, unless he refuses to accept delivery or returns

the postal packet forthwith unopened;
(b) by the sender, upon demand by the Postmaster General, if the addressee refuses to accept delivery or returns

the postal packet forthwith unopened, or if the addressee is dead or cannot be found, or if the Postmaster
General is of opinion that such postage or sum or deficiency should be paid by the sender and not by the
addressee. [cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 3 U.K.]

(5) Where a postal packet has been posted in Hong Kong and is addressed to an addressee outside Hong Kong and
the postage or any other sum chargeable on such postal packet has not been paid or has not been fully paid,
payment under this section shall be due from the sender upon demand by the Postmaster General, if the postal
packet is returned by the office of destination as undeliverable. (Amended 81 of 1975 s. 2)

(6) Where a postal packet has been posted outside Hong Kong and is addressed to an addressee in Hong Kong and
the postage or any other sum chargeable on such postal packet has not been fully paid, payment under this
section shall be due from the addressee upon the postal packet being tendered for delivery to him, unless the
Postmaster General is of opinion that such postage or sum or deficiency should be paid by the sender.
(Amended 81 of 1975 s. 2)

(Amended 1 of 1987 s. 8)

Section: 22 Right to withhold postal packets from person refusing to

pay postage, etc.
E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



If any person refuses or neglects to pay any postage or other sum which he is legally bound to pay in respect of any
postal packet, the Postmaster General may withhold from such person any postal packet whatsoever addressed to him,
not being on Her Majesty's service or on Government service, until such postage or other sum has been paid.

(Amended 80 of 1997 s. 37)




Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 8

Section: 23 Power of search and seizure E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) It shall be lawful for any public officer who may, either generally or in a particular case, be authorized in writing
by the Postmaster General in that behalf to search for, seize, remove and detain any postal article in respect of
which such public officer may have reason to believe that any offence against this Ordinance has been
committed.

(2) Such officer may, with or without assistance, if necessary-
(a) break open any outer or inner door of any house, building or place and enter thereinto;
(b) forcibly board and enter any ship (not being or having the status of a ship of war) and every part thereof;
(c) search any person found in such house, building or place, or on board such ship:
Provided that no person shall be searched except by a person of the same sex; (Amended 67 of 1995 s.

91(2))
(d) remove by force any material obstruction to, or any person obstructing, any such entry, search, seizure,

removal and detention as he is empowered to effect; and
(e) open and examine any postal article found in such house, building or place, or on board such ship.

(3) No person shall delay or obstruct any entry, search, seizure, removal or detention which is authorized by this
Ordinance.

(4) It shall be lawful for any public officer who in the execution of his duty discovers any postal article in respect of
which he may have reason to believe that any offence whatsoever has been or is about to be committed to seize
and detain any such postal article. (Amended 33 of 1939; G.N. 840 of 1940 Supp. Schedule)


Section: 24 Surrender of clothing, etc., by officer of Post Office on

ceasing to be officer
E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012



(1) Where an officer of the Post Office vacates his office (whether by reason of dismissal, resignation, death or
otherwise) he, or if he is dead his personal representative and any person in possession of his effects, shall
deliver to the Postmaster General all articles (whether uniform, accoutrements, appointments or other
necessaries) which were issued to such officer for the execution of his duty and are not or were not the property
of that officer, and shall deliver the articles in good order and condition, fair wear and tear only excepted.

(2) Every person who fails to comply with the provisions of this section shall, in lieu of or in addition to any fine
which may be imposed upon him, be also liable to pay such sum not exceeding $2000 as a magistrate may
determine to be the value of the articles not delivered, or if the articles have been delivered but not in good order
and condition, of the damage done to the articles. (Amended 1 of 1987 s. 4)

(3) (Repealed 47 of 1997 s. 10)
[cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 44 U.K.]


Section: 25 Postal packets delivered at hotels, etc., and not claimed E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) If any postal packet addressed to any person at any hotel, boarding-house or shipping office, and delivered at
such hotel, boarding-house or shipping office, is not claimed by or forwarded to the addressee within the
respective periods specified in subsection (2), the person in charge of such hotel, boarding-house or shipping
office shall forthwith return the postal packet to the Postmaster General, and the postal packet shall thereupon be
treated as a postal packet which has been returned to the Post Office from inability to find the person to whom it
is addressed.

(2) The respective times referred to in subsection (1) shall be 2 weeks in the case of a postal packet posted in Hong
Kong and 2 months in the case of a postal packet posted in any place outside Hong Kong: (Amended 1 of 1987
s. 8)

Provided that the Postmaster General may from time to time extend either of these periods as he may think fit in
any particular case.


Section: 26 Destruction of postal packets, etc. E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) No person shall destroy any mail bag or postal packet or anything contained in or forming part of any mail bag
or postal packet.



Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 9

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an officer of the Post Office who destroys a postal packet or anything contained
in or forming part of a postal packet if he does so under the authority of and in accordance with departmental
rules made by the Postmaster General respecting undeliverable mail.

(Replaced 21 of 1970 Second Schedule. Amended 46 of 1992 s. 3)
[cf. 1953 c. 36 s. 57 U.K.; 1968 c. 60 Sch. 2 Pt. I para. 6 U.K.]


Section: 27 Diversion of postal packets E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


No person shall wilfully open any postal packet addressed to some other person, which is in course of transmission by
post or which has been transmitted by post, or do anything where by the due delivery of any postal packet addressed to
some other person, which is in course of transmission by post or which has been transmitted by post, is prevented or
delayed or impeded, either with intent to injure such other person or with intent to obtain some benefit for himself.

[cf. 1908 c. 48 ss. 54 & 56 U.K.]

Section: 28 Unlawful retention of postal packets E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


No person shall fraudulently retain, or wilfully secrete or keep or detain, or when required by an officer of the Post
Office neglect or refuse to deliver up-

(a) any postal packet or any mail bag which ought to have been delivered to any other person; or
(b) any postal packet or any mail bag which has been found by him or by any other person. (Amended 33 of

1939; G.N. 840 of 1940 Supp. Schedule)
[cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 53 U.K.]


Section: 29 Unlawful opening, etc., of postal packets E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


No person shall without lawful authority or excuse-
(a) open any postal packet or take any of the contents out of any postal packet; or
(b) open any mail bag or take any postal packet or any of the contents of any postal packet out of any mail bag;

or
(c) have in his possession any postal packet or mail bag or any of the contents of any postal packet or mail bag;

or
(d) delay any postal packet or mail bag.

[cf. 1908 c. 48 ss. 51 & 56 U.K.]

Section: 30 Damaging, etc., letter boxes E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


No person shall place in or against any post office letter box any fire, match, light or fluid, or any explosive,
dangerous, filthy, noxious or deleterious substance, or injure or disfigure or do anything likely to injure or disfigure
any post office letter box or any of its contents.

[cf. 1908 c. 48 ss. 61 & 62 U.K.]

Section: 31 Prohibition of imitation of certain marks, etc. E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) No person shall without lawful authority make on any envelope, wrapper, card, form or paper, for the purpose of
being sent by post or of being otherwise used, any word, letter or mark, in imitation of or similar to or purporting
to be, any word, letter or mark used by any postal authority, or any word, letter or mark which signifies or
implies, or might reasonably lead the recipient thereof to believe, that the postal packet bearing such word, letter
or mark is sent on Her Majesty's service or on Government service. (Amended 80 of 1997 s. 38)

(2) No person shall without lawful authority or excuse make any envelope, wrapper, card, form or paper in imitation
of, or similar to or purporting to be, an envelope, wrapper, card, form or paper issued by or under the authority
of any postal authority.

(3) No person shall without lawful authority or excuse have in his possession any envelope, wrapper, card, form or
paper the making of which is prohibited by this section, or upon which there appears any word, letter or mark the
making of which is prohibited by this section.



Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 10

(Amended 23 of 1998 s. 2)
[cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 64 U.K.]


Section: 32 Prohibited articles E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) No person shall post, tender for posting or send by post-
(a) any postal packet consisting of or containing anything which might expose postal officials to danger or

which might soil or damage any other postal packet;
(b) any explosive, inflammable or dangerous substance;
(c) any animal or insect, live or dead, except as provided for in any regulations made under this Ordinance;
(d) (Repealed 34 of 1971 s. 3)
(e) any opium or any other drug to which the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance (Cap 134) applies; (Amended 33 of

1939; G.N. 840 of 1940 Supp. Schedule. See 2 of 1946 Schedule I Proc. No. 13)
(f) any obscene, immoral, indecent, offensive or libellous writing, picture or other thing;
(g) anything whatsoever of which the importation or circulation is forbidden in Hong Kong or in the country of

destination (provided that such country is included in the Universal Postal Union); (Amended 1 of 1987 s.
8)

(h) any seditious publication within the meaning of any enactment relating to sedition; (Replaced 33 of 1939;
G.N. 840 of 1940 Supp. Schedule)

(i) any postal packet which without lawful authority or excuse contains or bears any imitation or representation
of any postage stamp; (Amended 23 of 1998 s. 2)

(j) any postal packet which purports to be prepaid with any postage stamp which in fact has been used or
appears to have been used to prepay any other postal article;

(k) any imitation of any envelope, wrapper, card, form or document issued by any postal authority; (Amended
23 of 1998 s. 2)

(l) any postal packet bearing any imitation of any words, letters or other marks used by any postal authority;
(Amended 23 of 1998 s. 2)

(m) any postal packet bearing without lawful authority any words, letters or other marks calculated to convey
the impression that such postal packet has been sent on Her Majesty's service or on Government service;
(Amended 80 of 1997 s. 39)

(n) any lottery ticket, document or other thing relating to an unlawful lottery, other than a lottery promoted,
conducted or managed outside Hong Kong; or (Replaced 46 of 1992 s. 4. Amended 38 of 1994 s. 6)

(o) (Repealed 46 of 1992 s. 4)
(p) anything the sending of which by post is prohibited by any regulation made under this or any other

Ordinance.
(2) No person shall post or tender for posting or send by post, in any particular kind of postal packet, anything if the

sending of such thing by post in that kind of postal packet is prohibited by any regulation made under this
Ordinance.

(3) The importation by post of anything which is prohibited to be sent by post is prohibited.
(4) (Repealed 1 of 1987 s. 5)
(5) If any postal packet received by the Post Office from outside Hong Kong for delivery in Hong Kong contains

anything the sending of which by post is prohibited by or under this Ordinance, it shall be lawful for a
magistrate, upon such notice to the addressee as he may think reasonable, to order that such thing be forfeited to
the Crown, and anything so forfeited shall be dealt with in such way as the Governor may direct. (Amended 1 of
1987 s. 8)

(6) It shall be lawful for the Postmaster General to refuse to receive in the post or to refuse to forward anything
which, by reason of its nature, contents or form or for any other reason, is not in accordance with any
departmental rules made or adopted by him or any departmental practice followed in the Post Office.

[cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 63 U.K.]

Section: 32A Offences relating to postage stamps E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


Any person who-
(a) fraudulently prints or impresses upon or affixes to any material any postage stamp;
(b) knowingly sells or offers or exposes for sale or utters or uses any postage stamp which has been



Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 11

fraudulently printed or impressed;
(c) fraudulently mutilates any postage stamp, with intent that any use may be made of any part of such postage

stamp;
(d) fraudulently cuts, tears or in any way removes from any material any postage stamp, with intent that any

use may be made of such postage stamp or any part thereof;
(e) fraudulently affixes to or places upon any material any postage stamp or part of a postage stamp which,

whether fraudulently or not, has been cut, torn or in any way removed from any material or out of or from
any other postage stamp;

(f) fraudulently adds to, erases or otherwise either really or apparently removes from any postage stamp any
name, sum, date or other matter or thing whatsoever, with intent that any use may be made of such postage
stamp;

(g) wilfully removes or attempts to remove from any postage stamp any cancelling marks thereon;
(h) knowingly sells or offers or exposes for sale or utters or uses any postage stamp from which cancelling

marks have been wholly or partially removed;
(i) knowingly sells or offers or exposes for sale or utters any postage stamp which has been fraudulently

removed from any material;
(j) knowingly, and without lawful excuse, has in his possession any postage stamp which has been fraudulently

printed or impressed upon or affixed to any material, or any postage stamp which has been fraudulently
mutilated, or any postage stamp or part of a postage stamp which has been fraudulently cut, torn or in any
way removed from any material, or any postage stamp to or from which any name, sum, date or other
matter or thing has been fraudulently added, erased or otherwise either really or apparently removed, or any
postage stamp from which cancelling marks have been wholly or partially removed,

commits an offence. (Amended 46 of 1992 s. 5)
(Added 31 of 1981 s. 65)


Section: 32B Power of magistrate in relation to stolen postage stamps E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) If it appears to a magistrate upon the oath of any person that there is reason to believe that any postage stamps
have been stolen or fraudulently obtained and are on any premises, the magistrate may issue a warrant
authorizing a police officer to enter such premises and to search the same and any person found thereon and to
seize and take away any such postage stamps found on such premises or such person, and to arrest any person
found on such premises in whose possession or custody such postage stamps are found; and if any such person
does not satisfactorily account to a magistrate for his possession or custody of such postage stamps or it appears
to the magistrate that such postage stamps were not lawfully obtained by him such postage stamps shall be
forfeited and delivered up to the Postmaster General.

(2) Where postage stamps are seized under a warrant issued under subsection (1), the police officer authorized by
the warrant shall, if required, give to any person in whose possession or custody such postage stamps are found a
written acknowledgement of the number, particulars and value of such postage stamps and permit such postage
stamps to be marked before their removal.

(Added 31 of 1981 s. 65)

Section: 32C Fraudulent practices relating to payment of postage E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


No person shall practise or be concerned in any fraudulent act, contrivance or device with intent to defraud the
Government in respect of the payment of postage.

(Added 31 of 1981 s. 65)

Section: 32D Bills for unordered goods and services E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) No person shall post or tender for posting or send by post, any bill, invoice or statement of account due (or any
document which could reasonably be considered to be or has the appearance of a bill, invoice or statement of
account due) in respect of goods or services which have not been ordered or requested by the addressee, unless
the following notice, or a notice to the like effect, in block letters and Chinese characters appears prominently
and legibly on its face-





Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 12

"THIS IS NOT A DEMAND FOR PAYMENT
THERE IS NO OBLIGATION TO PAY

THIS IS NOT A BILL
本郵件並非要求付款通知書

收件人不須付款

本郵件並非帳單".


(2) The notice referred to in subsection (1) shall be in writing that is-
(a) bolder than any other writing on the page; and
(b) not smaller than the largest letter or character, as the case may be, of any other writing on the page.

(3) (Repealed 46 of 1992 s. 6)
(Added 1 of 1987 s. 6)


Section: 33 Offences by officers of the Post Office E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) No officer of the Post Office shall-
(a) wilfully deliver any mail bag or postal packet to any person other than the person to whom such mail bag or

postal packet ought to be delivered;
(b) issue any money order with a fraudulent intent; [cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 58 U.K.]
(c) reissue a money order or postal order or postal note previously paid;
(d) wilfully pay any money order or postal order or postal note to any person other than the person to whom

such money order or postal order or postal note should be paid;
(e) wilfully or negligently endanger the safety of any mail bag or postal packet;
(f) fraudulently put any wrong official mark on any mail bag or postal packet;
(g) fraudulently alter, remove or cause to disappear any official mark which is on any mail bag or postal packet;
(h) being entrusted with the delivery of any postal packet, knowingly demand or receive any sum of money in

respect of the postage thereof which is not chargeable under this Ordinance;
(i) being entrusted with the preparing or keeping of any document, fraudulently prepare such document

incorrectly or alter or secrete or destroy such document;
(j) send by post or put into any mail bag any postal packet upon which the postage has not been paid or

charged in the prescribed manner, with intent thereby to defraud the Government of the postage payable on
such packet;

(k) be guilty of any act or default or negligence by means of which the safety of any mail bag or postal packet
is or might be endangered or by means of which the prompt handling of any mail bag or postal packet is or
might be impeded;

(l) be absent from duty without leave and without lawful authority or excuse.
(2) Nothing in this section shall be construed as making or as tending to make any other section of this Ordinance

inapplicable in the case of officers of the Post Office.

Section: 34 Obstruction E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


No person shall obstruct any officer of the Post Office in the execution of his duty.
[cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 67 U.K.]


Section: 35 Laying of property E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


In any prosecution under this Ordinance in respect of any mail bag or postal packet or anything which was contained
in or formed part of any mail bag or postal packet, it shall be sufficient to allege such mail bag or postal packet or
thing to be the property of the Postmaster General without mentioning his name.

[cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 73 U.K.]

Section: 36 Evidence E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) In any proceeding for the recovery of any postage or other sum alleged to be due under this Ordinance in respect



Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 13

of any postal packet and in any prosecution under this Ordinance-
(a) the production of a postal article having thereon what appears to be any official mark of any postal authority

shall until the contrary is proved be prima facie evidence of any fact stated in or indicated by such mark;
(Amended 23 of 1998 s. 2)

(b) the person from whom any postal article purports to have come shall until the contrary is proved be deemed
to be the sender thereof, and

(c) any statement contained in any document produced from the custody of the Postmaster General which
purports to be made by any postal authority shall be admissible in evidence and shall until the contrary is
proved be deemed to be true. (Amended 23 of 1998 s. 2) [cf. 1908 c. 48 ss. 8 & 9 U.K.]

(2) In any proceedings for an offence under section 27 of this Ordinance, section 29(4) of the Theft Ordinance (Cap
210) shall apply as it is expressed to apply to proceedings for the theft of anything in the course of transmission.
(Added 21 of 1970 Second Schedule) [cf. 1968 c. 60 Sch. 2 Pt. I para. 11 U.K.]


Section: 37 Offences E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) Every person who-
(a) acts in contravention of or fails to comply with any provision of this Ordinance or of any regulation made

thereunder; or
(b) acts in contravention of or fails to comply with any condition of any licence issued under this Ordinance or

under any regulation made thereunder; or
(c) attempts to commit an offence against this Ordinance, or solicits or incites another person to commit any

such offence or attempts to solicit or incite another person to commit any such offence, or aids, abets,
counsels or procures the commission of any such offence, [cf. 1908 c. 48 s. 69 U.K.]

shall be deemed to commit an offence against this Ordinance.
(2) Where the person convicted of an offence under this Ordinance is a company or other body corporate, the

chairman and every director and every officer concerned in the management of the company or other body
corporate shall, unless he proves that the act or omission constituting the offence took place without his
knowledge and consent, be guilty of the like offence and shall notwithstanding the provisions of section 2(1) be
liable to all the penalties and consequences to which a natural person is liable upon conviction of the said
offence.

(3) Where the person convicted of an offence under this Ordinance is a firm, every partner in the firm and every
person concerned in the management of the firm shall, unless he proves that the act or omission constituting the
offence occurred without his knowledge and consent, be guilty of the like offence and shall notwithstanding the
provisions of section 2(1) be liable to all the penalties and consequences to which a natural person is liable upon
conviction of the said offence.


Section: 38 Penalties E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


(1) Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of -
(a) section 24 commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine at level 2 and to imprisonment for 6

months; or
(b) section 16, 17, 18, 26, 28, 29 or 33 commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine at level 4 and to

imprisonment for 2 years; or
(c) section 32D commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of $200000 and to imprisonment for 3

years. (Replaced 46 of 1992 s. 7)
(2) Any person who commits an offence under section 32A is liable -

(a) on summary conviction to a fine at level 4 and to imprisonment for 2 years; and
(b) on conviction upon indictment to a fine and to imprisonment for 7 years. (Replaced 46 of 1992 s. 7)

(3) Any person who commits an offence against this Ordinance for which no penalty is otherwise provided shall be
liable to a fine at level 4 and to imprisonment for 6 months. (Replaced 46 of 1992 s. 7)

(4) (Repealed 46 of 1992 s. 7)
(5) If any act or default is a contravention of more than one of the said sections or subsections, the offender may be

prosecuted, convicted and punished under any one of the said sections or subsections.
(6) In the case of a conviction involving a fine the court or magistrate inflicting such fine may direct, on the

application of the Postmaster General or other officer conducting the prosecution, that any part not exceeding



Cap 98 - Post Office Ordinance 14

one half thereof shall be paid to any person who has given such information as has led to the conviction of the
offender or offenders, or, if there are more than one such person, may direct such part to be divided amongst
them in such proportion as the court or magistrate may direct. (Added 9 of 1941 s. 2)

(Amended E.R. 2 of 2012)

Section: 39 Limitation of time E.R. 2 of 2012 02/08/2012


Notwithstanding the provisions of any enactment which prescribes the time within which proceedings for an offence
punishable upon a summary conviction may be commenced, any summary proceedings for an offence under this
Ordinance may be commenced within one year after the offence was committed.

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