Just how tall is 4,488 metres? This is roughly half of Mount Everest in height or five of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Intriguingly, it is also the height of the documents destroyed by the Hong Kong government last year. The volume was a three-year high, according to the city’s official records agency. The figure certainly does nothing for the government’s environmental protection credentials. But for a bureaucracy overseeing a sophisticated city of 7 million people, such a volume may well be the result of vigorous control and restraints. However, the lack of legal supervision and sanctions means the public is unable to tell whether this is the case. Hong Kong officials destroyed paperwork nine times height of ICC Currently, approval from the Government Records Service will be given before the destruction of expired records with no archival value. Those having potential value will be appraised again by the Public Records Office. To enhance transparency and accountability, the government has been reporting the amount of records destroyed by individual departments since 2015. For instance, the Environment Bureau had the second highest year-on-year increase, destroying 205 metres more records last year. We trust the process has been closely monitored with professionalism by the records agency. But there remains concern as to whether sensitive documents, such as the ones in relation to the Beijing-opposed Occupy protests in 2014, will be unduly disposed of. Without further checks and safeguards, the public can only hope that will not be the case. Previous administrations were opposed to the regulation of government archives by law, saying the administrative approach had served the purpose. There has been a change of heart since Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor took over, but we are still not close to launching the legislative process. Weeks have passed since the consultations on an archive law and access to information were completed, but officials have yet to shed light on the way forward. Proper archives and open access are hallmarks of good governance. It is in the interest of the government to press ahead with the enactment.