Conservationists have reacted strongly to a decision by the city’s postal service to cover the British royal insignia on historic postboxes, claiming they weren’t consulted. A Hongkong Post spokeswoman said it was ‘inappropriate’ to display royal insignia on the remaining 59 old postboxes built during the colonial period and that the decision to cover them had been made in March. READ MORE: Hongkong Post 'didn't like results' of consultant's report into reforms and terminated project While most of the postboxes carry the royal insignia of Queen Elizabeth II, the oldest was built during the reign of King George V and has been in use for around 100 years. Peter Li Siu-man of the Conservancy Association said he suspected the decision may have been politically motivated. “Back in 2010 when they planned to remove the GRV postbox on Lamma Island, we wrote to [the postal service] about the importance of these postboxes,” he said. “Hongkong Post finally agreed to not remove it and even repaired it.” Li said his association was told about the plan on September 9. Li said the postboxes should be left as they are and Hongkong Post had given them no indication when they might begin covering them. READ MORE: Former Beijing official continues call for Hong Kong to shake off its colonial past Local activist David Webb said the markings were an important part of Hong Kong’s history and didn’t denote any British sovereignty. “We have little enough to offer tourists apart from tax-free shopping, so we ought to try to preserve what’s left of things to look at and talk about,” he said. Webb pointed out that only last month Hongkong Post issued new stamps featuring the British Insignia on the city’s Final Court of Appeal. Tam Wing-pong, a former postmaster general, said he “did not understand” the rationale behind the new plan. He said the government kept the original postboxes during the handover in 1997 due to practical reasons. The Hongkong Post spokeswoman said old insignias would be covered in a way which wouldn’t damage them and they had consulted with conservation experts in the government. She added that seven old postboxes would be left intact and put on display in their original form for tourists.