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Information on private columbaria updated

The Development Bureau (DEVB) today (March 29) released updated information for general reference on the relevant land/lease (user restrictions) and planning information relating to private columbaria that are made known to the Lands Department (LandsD) and/or Planning Department and those which the departments have reason to believe are operating as columbaria.

The current update does not involve addition or removal of any columbarium from the list; details of individual columbaria have been updated. The private columbaria listed do not necessarily fulfill the licensing requirements under the Private Columbaria Ordinance (Cap.630), which came into effect on June 30, 2017. For details of the Ordinance, please visit the website of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) (www.rpc.gov.hk).

Among the private columbaria included in the information published today on DEVB's website, 21 are applying to the LandsD for regularisation of land use and/or the Town Planning Board for planning permission. The information is available on DEVB's website (www.devb.gov.hk/en/issues_in_focus/private_columbaria/index.html).

"Members of the public who wish to purchase niches at private columbaria are reminded of the importance of obtaining from the operators full and complete information in order to check whether the columbaria are licensed under the Ordinance and compliant with all relevant statutory and government requirements. To protect their own interests, members of the public are also reminded to ascertain from the operators how they will look after the interests of their customers, such as whether and how they would refund or otherwise compensate their customers in the event that the private columbarium subsequently closes down or is disallowed from operating. Members of the public should seek independent legal advice on their rights when necessary," a spokesman for the DEVB said.

Under the Ordinance, except for the private columbaria covered by the grace period, any person who operates, keeps, manages or in any other way has control of a private columbarium in Hong Kong must obtain a specified instrument (i.e. licence, exemption or temporary suspension of liability) through application to the Private Columbaria Licensing Board. Land/lease and planning requirements form part of the overall requirements for applying for specified instruments under the Ordinance. This current round of updating on the land/lease (user restrictions) and planning information relating to private columbaria is the final round of updates by the DEVB. The DEVB will cease to update such information hereafter. Information on the implementation of the Ordinance will continue to be published by the FEHD on the http://www.rpc.gov.hk/ website.

For enquiries on the regulation of private columbaria, please contact 3142 2300 (24-hour hotline handled by 1823).  

Ends/Thursday, March 29, 2018
Issued at HKT 15:40

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