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Religious Ash Pagodas
What is a “religious ash pagoda” under the Private Columbaria Ordinance?
  • It must be a “pre-cut-off columbarium”1
  • The columbarium is a columbarium of a “Chinese temple” as defined in Section 2 of the Chinese Temples Ordinance (Cap 153); and
  • The religious ash pagoda is any part of the columbarium used for interment of ashes of the religious practitioners2 of that temple.
1 “pre-cut-off columbarium” means a columbarium that was in operation, and in which ashes were interred in niches, immediately before the cut-off time.
2 “Religious practitioners” includes the Buddhist monks and nuns and Taoist priests and priestesses residing and serving in that temple immediately before death but excludes their family members and any other persons related to that temple, whether as followers, donors or otherwise of that temple.
Ashes interred in a “religious ash pagoda” before the enactment date (i.e. 30 June 2017)
  1. During the grace period1
    • The ashes interred in a “religious ash pagoda” before the enactment date can continue to be kept.

  2. During the validity period of the TSOL
    1. The ashes interred in a “religious ash pagoda” before the cut-off time can continue to be kept; and
    2. The ashes interred in a “religious ash pagoda” (as defined by section 57(14) of the Ordinance) since the ”cut-off time” and before the enactment date, where no fees, charges or other sums were paid, or are payable, for the interment of the ashes, can continue to be kept.

[Remarks: After the grace period and the validity period of the TSOL, the interred ashes can continue to be kept in the “religious ash pagodas” only if the columbarium is granted an exemption and the religious ash pagoda(s) is/are specified by the Secretary for Home Affairs (SHA) in a notice published in the Gazette.]
1  Grace period means from 30 June 2017 to 29 March 2018. If the columbarium applies for a TSOL and an exemption, the grace period will remain valid during the processing of the TSOL application until it is finally disposed of or withdrawn.
Requirements regarding the interment of ashes of religious practitioners in a "religious ash pagoda" after the grace period
  • The columbarium concerned must be issued an exemption. Please click here for the eligibility requirements for an exemption.
  • The columbarium concerned and the “religious ash pagoda” therein must have been specified by SHA as a religious ash pagoda in a notice published in the Gazette.
The specified “religious ash pagodas” must comply with the following requirements:
  • They are used for the interment of the ashes of religious practitioners only;
  • No fees, charges or other sums may be payable for interment of the ashes;
  • The number of sets of ashes that may be interred in the religious ash pagoda(s) must not exceed the maximum number specified by SHA in the gazette notice. (The maximum number of sets of ashes that may be interred as specified by SHA for a columbarium must not exceed 1 000);
  • They must comply with any requirement or condition imposed by SHA;
  • They must comply with any requirement or condition of the exemption;
  • They must keep a register of all the religious practitioners of that temple, whose ashes are interred in the religious ash pagoda(s); and
  • They must make the register available for inspection, on request, by the SHA.
Other Situations
  • If the ashes of the deceased or the way the ashes are interred do not meet the eligibility requirements of a religious ash pagoda, the columbarium concerned is required to apply for an appropriate specified instrument according to the statutory requirements as an ordinary columbarium. Please click here for details.