22nd November 2022 – (Hong Kong) The Home Affairs Department, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and the Lands Department (LandsD) today launched an enforcement action in the Permitted Burial Ground (PBG) of Tai Tau Chau (SK/52) in Sai Kung against illegal hillside burials. Four illegal graves/urn houses/urns were removed and the human remains in them were reburied at Sandy Ridge Cemetery.
The FEHD and the LandsD posted notices on eight unauthorised graves/urn houses/urns located within the PBG of Tai Tau Chau in Sai Kung on September 15 this year, and required the related persons of the graves/urn houses/urns concerned to cease occupation of the government land and to contact relevant government departments before 17th October this year, or else the human remains inside the graves/urn houses/urns concerned would be reburied at Sandy Ridge Cemetery. At the expiration of the period, four graves/urn houses/urns remained unclaimed. The Government thus commenced the clearance operation today.
The Government has been implementing a pilot scheme on the management of PBGs in individual PBGs since 2016. Taking into account the actual circumstances of each PBG, the Government has been implementing appropriate improvement measures, including erecting boundary pillars for the PBGs, conducting record surveys of existing graves and urns, imposing restrictions on the size of burial sites and demarcating available spaces in PBGs for new applications of burial sites, in order to ensure that the places of burials are within PBGs. The pilot scheme has now been extended to 15 PBGs, covering nine administrative districts in the New Territories.
The Government has examined the data obtained from the pilot scheme earlier and decided to commence follow-up actions against illegal burials in the PBGs in phases from July 2021. The Government will continue its follow-up actions, including planning to post notices on other unauthorised graves/urn houses/urns before the Ching Ming Festival.
A Government spokesman reiterated that, according to the Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) Ordinance (Cap. 28), it is an offence when any person occupying government land, otherwise than under permission from the Authority, does not cease the occupation as required by a notice prescribed by the Ordinance. Any property or structure on the occupied government land may be demolished and removed by the Government, and the occupier may be prosecuted. Furthermore, according to the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132), it is an offence to bury human remains without permission in writing of the Authority. Offenders are liable to prosecution, and the human remains inside the graves concerned will be removed.
HKSAR Govt Press Release