Police say powder letters are criminal intimidation

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 March, 2007, 12:00am

Police last night classified the discovery at the General Post Office in Central of an unidentified but harmless powder in letters addressed to businesses in the area a case of criminal intimidation.

Hongkong Post said one of its mail processing workers on the fourth floor of the building alerted his supervisor when he discovered white powder leaking from a letter at about 10am yesterday. When further checks by postal workers revealed the presence of the powder in 29 letters, emergency services were called.

Police, firemen wearing protective suits and hazardous-materials teams removed the letters.

There were no reports of injury, and no evacuation of the building was necessary.

Police said onsite tests found the powder was harmless. The powder was sent to the government laboratory for further tests.

Police initially classified the case as 'suspicious objects found' but late last night reclassified it as criminal intimidation.

'Although no one was hurt, police are investigating the motive,' a police spokesman said.

Hongkong Post general manager Au Wai-yin said: 'All the letters concerned are local mail and had been sent to business addresses in Central. Many different companies are involved and we immediately quarantined the letters.'

The letters were addressed to companies in the Far East Finance Centre in Admiralty.

Hongkong Post said delivery services were not affected during the incident.

Last June, three media organisations - Apple Daily, Commercial Radio and Hong Kong Daily News - were sent letters containing an unidentified white powder.

One of the letters contained complaints about local horse-racing commentators.