Storing the remains of a deceased in columbaria is the most common method in Hong Kong.
The FEHD manages 8 government columbaria. A list of available columbaria can be found on the FEHD website.
There are two types of niches that can be chosen in the columbaria of the FEHD:
- standard niches – holding two persons with kinship
- large niches – holding four persons with kinship
Kinship is a general term referring to the most common types of ‘relatives’: e.g. parent, spouse, sibling and son-in-law.
Columbaria in private cemeteries
There are a number of private cemeteries which are also equipped with columbaria.
The Private Columbaria Ordinance (Cap. 630) came into effect on 30 June 2017. Under the Ordinance, the operation of a private columbarium in Hong Kong must be covered by a licence, exemption or temporary suspension of liability (TSOL). Only private columbaria that have obtained a licence may sell or newly let out niches.
Under the Ordinance, a 9-month grace period between 30 June 2017 and 29 March 2018 will be applicable to a private columbarium that was in operation immediately before 30 June 2017. For columbarium which was not in operation immediately before 30 June 2017 or columbarium which has been in operation since 1 July 2017, the grace period does not apply.
During the grace period, a private columbarium in operation immediately before 30 June 2017 may continue its operation but it may not sell or newly let out niches. After the grace period, a private columbarium must obtain a licence, an exemption or a TSOL in order to continue its operation. Otherwise, the private columbarium has to cease its operation and carry out the prescribed ash disposal procedures.
What happens if the chosen private columbarium is not licensed?
Ashes can be placed at private columbaria until 29 March 2018. If the private columbarium is still unlicensed or has no exemption, you must find a private columbarium with a licence or an exemption to place ashes. According to the circumstances, you can claim compensation from the operator.
It is recommended that before any agreement has been signed or payment has been made, one should verify with the operator of the private columbarium on whether the private columbarium has obtained a licence and how compensation will be awarded if it ceases operation.
Please visit FEHD's webpage on regulation of private columbaria for details.