|When will the upcoming annual public niche allocation open for application by the public?
The application period for the annual niche allocation of niches in Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI and Cape Collinson-San Ha Columbarium is from 9:00 a.m. on 20/3/2023 (Monday) to 5:00 p.m. on 17/4/2023 (Monday).
|When and where will the drawing of lots and computer random balloting be conducted? Will the computer random balloting be open to the public and other 3rd parties to witness the balloting process?
|The date of conducting open drawing of lots and computer random balloting will be conducted in July 2023 tentatively and will be announced in due course after close of application period. The open drawing of lots and computer random balloting will be conducted in the Public Niche Allocation Office. The public is welcome as witness and can book reservation on a first-come-first-served basis due to limited number of seats. The starting time of accepting reservation and phone number will be announced at appropriate time.
|What is the eligibility of deceased person whose cremated ashes are eligible for application for a niche in the columbaria of FEHD?
The cremated ashes of the following persons are eligible for the application for a niche in the columbaria of FEHD.
# A copy of the relevant documents must be submitted with the application and the originals should be produced for inspection at the time of allocation.
Can a niche in Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI or Cape Collinson-San Ha Columbarium be applied for deceased persons whose ashes have already been deposited in other public niches or private niches?
|Provided the deceased person meets the eligibility criteria for depositing ashes in the columbaria under FEHD (see question 3 above), the applicant may submit an application for the subject deceased person. Please note that upon allocation of a niche and ashes of deceased have been deposited in the niche, the original niche if the deceased is the 1st deceased deposited therein (including the permanent niche allocated before the commencement of the “Public Health and Municipal Services (Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 2019”) must be returned to FEHD. The niches in Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI and Cape Collison-San Ha Columbarium are extendable niches.
|Can a niche in Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI or Cape Collinson-San Ha Columbarium be applied for a deceased person who is now on the waiting list for a reused niche?
|If the deceased person is now on the waiting list of reused niches, applicant may also apply for a niche in Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI or Cape Collinson-San Ha Columbarium for the deceased person. Once a new niche is allocated to the applicant and the ashes of the deceased have been deposited therein, FEHD would delete the name of the deceased person from the waiting list of reused niches.
|Public have complained against FEHD for cessation of receiving application for re-used public niche and freezing the existing waiting list. Please explain the reasons?
All niches of FEHD allocated from 26 April 2019 onwards are extendable niches after the Public Health and Municipal Services (Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 2019 (Cap. 132CJ) came into operation on that day.
Under the new arrangement, FEHD ceased to receive applications for reused public niches and froze the existing waiting list for reused niches. The applicants in the waiting list could continue to wait for the reused niches and apply for the new public niches at the same time. Only if allocated with new public niches and ashes of the deceased have been deposited therein, FEHD will remove the applicant from the waiting list.
|How to apply for a public niche in Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI or Cape Collinson-San Ha Columbarium?
Applicant may fill in the online application form, upload the required documents in pdf or jpeg format and submit the application online at FEHD website (https://app.fehd.gov.hk/newniche/N2023/). FEHD strongly recommends applicant to apply online so as to avoid postal delay/non-delivery and the applicant can also receive an acknowledgement receipt with an application number through email issued by computer shortly after the submission, facilitating follow-up of the application in the future. If the applicant is the same person who applied for cremation service for the deceased and submits online application through “iAM Smart”, it will be more convenient and copies of the required documents are not needed.
Applicant can also download the application form from FEHD website (www.fehd.gov.hk), or obtain the application form in person from the Hong Kong or Kowloon Cemeteries and Crematoria office, the District Environmental Hygiene Offices of FEHD, or the Home Affairs Enquiry Centres. The application form can also be obtained by fax via hotline 2841 9111.
During the application period, applicant may submit the completed application form together with copies of the required documents through the following means:
Applications which are not supported with all necessary documents or information, or late or duplicated submission will not be accepted.
How to fill in the application form? What should be noted when applying for a niche in Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI or Cape Collison-San Ha Columbarium?
Applicant must complete Sections A, B and C of the application form and sign on Section C and then submit the completed form together with copies of all required documents.
Applications for standard and large niches will be handled separately. The applicant should only file one application to apply for either a standard niche or a large niche for the same deceased person. In other words, FEHD will only process one application for each deceased in any application period.
For application for a standard niche, applicant has to fill in at least one deceased person's particulars in the application form. As for a large niche, applicant has to fill in at least three deceased persons' particulars in the application form. The other deceased person(s) listed in the application form shall be a close relative of the first deposited deceased. Close relative means the spouse, parent, grandparent, grandparent-in-law, brother, sister, father-in-law, mother-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law or a direct descendant of either the male or female line. FEHD will also consider the application if they are of close relationship.
The applicant has to select either a standard or a large niche in Section A of the application form. Please note that the quantity of niches differs in each item and hence has direct influence on the chance of successful allocation, the higher the quantity of niches, the greater the chance of successful allocation will relatively be.
If the applicant opts for a standard niche, he/she should choose only one of the following 6 items:
If the applicant opts for a large niche, he/she should choose only one of the following 6 items:
In this niche allocation exercise, the quantity of available standard niche in Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI may be adjusted according to the application situation. As the quantity of each type of niches (standard/large; smoke-free/non-smoke-free) available for allocation is different, and the chance of successful allocation would also vary. There is no guarantee that eligible applications will allocate with a niche successfully.
Applicant opts for niche in Cape Collinson-San Ha Columbarium could also opt to accept same type of niche remained in Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI as the backup choice when they are unsuccessful.
If the applicant had submitted an application in or after 2019 and was accepted and there is no change in respect of his/her name and Hong Kong Identity Card number (HKIC No.) and all particulars of the deceased, he/she only needs to provide the relevant application number and fill in the option of niche to apply for, the name and HKIC No. of the applicant and the deceased and sign or he/she is also the applicant of cremation service for the deceased and completes online application form through “iAM Smart”, copies of the required documents are not required. If there is any change on other particulars such as the nominated representatives, the option of how to handle the ashes if no extension is sought upon expiry of the interment period, means of contact, etc., he/she can jot it down on relevant parts for updating the previous record.
Applicant must read the “Declaration by Applicant” in Section C of the application form carefully to indicate thorough understanding of the details before signing and submitting the application with copies of all required documents.
Change of the deceased's particulars is not allowed once the application has been approved by FEHD. Applications not supported with all necessary documents or information, or late or duplicated submission will not be accepted.
What supporting documents should be submitted with the application form?
Applicant should submit the application form together with the following documents:
For online application, applicant must upload copies of the required documents in pdf or jpeg format. However, If the applicant had submitted an application in or after 2019 and was accepted and there is no change in respect of his/her name and Hong Kong Identity Card number and all particulars of the deceased, or he/she is also the applicant of cremation service for the deceased and completes online application form through “iAM Smart”, copies of the required documents can be dispensed with.
What should be noted if the application is submitted with the “Permit to Remove/Exhume Remains”?
If an application is submitted with a copy of “Permit to Remove/Exhume Remains”, the applicant must produce the original of the “Permit to Take Away Cremated Ashes” or “Temporary Skeletal Remains Cremation Certificate” during allocation of niche. Otherwise he/she should produce the original of a valid“Permit to Remove/Exhume Remains” and fill in an undertaking to complete cremation within 6 months, and submit all the required documents to FEHD for scrutiny once acquired in order to complete the formalities.
If the said exhumation of remains has not been carried out within the said period, the applicant must return the allocated niche to FEHD for re-allocation. The relevant fees paid will not be refunded.
|How can the applicant know the application form has been received by FEHD and how does FEHD decide whether the application is successful or not?
After the application form and supporting documents have been received, FEHD will issue an acknowledgement receipt with an application number to the applicant by post, fax or email (depending on the submission means of the application). Applicants who do not receive an acknowledgement receipt ten calendar days after submitting the application should call hotline 2841 9111 for enquiries. FEHD strongly encourages applicant to use online application which can avoid postal delay/non-delivery and the applicant can also receive an acknowledgement receipt with an application number through email shortly after the submission, facilitating follow-up of the application in the future. If the applicant is the same person who applied for cremation service for the deceased and submits online application through “iAM Smart”, it will be more convenient and copies of the required documents are not needed. The priority of allocation of all eligible applicants and the designated niche for successful applicants are determined by the open drawing of lots and computer random balloting. Successful applicants must complete the niche allocation formalities and pay the prescribed fees at the Public Niche Allocation Office (Units 3501-3511 & 3520-3525, 35/F, Tower 1, Metroplaza, 223 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Fong, N.T.) at the scheduled date and time.
|How can the applicant know the updated application status and ballot result after submitting the application?
After the application form and supporting documents have been received, FEHD will issue an acknowledgement receipt with an application number to the applicant by post, fax or email (depending on the means of submission of the application). If the applicant does not receive an acknowledgement receipt 10 calendar days after submitting the application, he / she should call the hotline 2841 9111 for enquiries.
Applicants may also obtain their application status, including the amount and serial number(s) of ballot paper(s) obtained through Interactive Voice Response System via the above hotline or FEHD website(www.fehd.gov.hk).
After verification of the eligibility of application, FEHD will notify the applicant of the ballot paper number(s) awarded and date of drawing lots and computer random balloting through WhatsApp/SMS and email.
After the drawing of lots and computer random balloting, successful applicants will be notified of the designated niche allocated by WhatsApp/SMS and e-mail. Successful applicants will be informed in writing of their assigned niches and their appointed date and time for completion of allocation formalities according to their priorities thereafter.
Applicants may also check the ballot result immediately after drawing of lots and computer random balloting on FEHD website (www.fehd.gov.hk), or on the following day at Hong Kong or Kowloon Cemeteries and Crematoria Office, Public Niche Allocation Office or through Interactive Voice Response System by dialling enquiry hotline 2841 9111.
|How to look after those applicants who failed in the past niche allocation exercise? For this niche allocation exercise, which categories of application will have greater ballot weighting to increase the chance of successful allocation?
For each application (whether it is for standard niche or large niche), each deceased person can basically receive one “ballot paper”. To encourage co-location of ashes, for deposition of ashes of more than one deceased persons, an additional “ballot paper” will be given to enhance the chance of successful balloting. However, only one additional “ballot paper” at most will be issued in one application.
|Can successful applicants choose the niche by themselves at time of completing the allocation formalities?
A new niche allocation arrangement has been adopted for extendable niches. Irrespective of their level and orientation on a niche wall, all niches will be allocated to successful applicants by drawing of lots and computer random balloting and each successful applicant will be assigned a designated niche of his/her choice by computer matching rather than self-chosen.
The applicant was allowed to choose a public niche in the previous niche allocation. Why it is changed?
|New columbarium projects will be completed one after another. We expect that the number of niches to be allocated each year will be at least 20 000 in the coming years. Since the niche allocation will become a routine task, and the quantity of niches to be allocated each year and the amount of work involved are huge, we must allocate the niches in a fair, transparent and efficient manner. For eligible applications, we would allocate the niches to the applicants by means of drawing of lots and computer random balloting. This allocation means has also been recognized by the ICAC. We estimate that we can handle about 400 allocations per day by this allocation means as compared with at most about 160 allocations in the past, allowing the successful applicants to select niches by themselves, that is, it can allocate 2.5 times the number of cases in the past.
If the successful applicants do not take up the designated niche, will they have an additional “ballot paper” when they submit application in the next allocation exercise?
If the successful applicant decides not to take up the assigned niche or does not show up to complete the niche allocation formalities or does not pay the prescribed fees at the appointed date and time, the applicant will be regarded as having given up the assigned niche and the application will be considered to have been processed. Under the circumstances, the applicant will not be issued with an additional “ballot paper” if he submits an application in the next annual niche allocation exercise. Only those applications which were not invited for allocation of a niche for the relevant deceased in FEHD's last annual public niche allocation exercise will be issued with an additional "ballot paper".
Can applicants visit Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI or Cape Collinson-San Ha Columbarium to check the location of the assigned niches?
Applicants may visit the columbarium after FEHD announces the date of commissioning of the relevant columbarium. Applicant may also enter the serial number of the assigned niche in the niche location enquiry system on FEHD website (www.fehd.gov.hk) to check the orientation and location of the niche.
How to complete the allocation formalities and what documents must be brought by the successful applicants?
After the drawing of lots and computer random balloting, successful applicants will be informed by letters of their assigned niches and the appointed date and time for completion of allocation formalities according to their priorities.
The whole niche allocation process consists of four parts: checking of the originals of the required documents, verifying the eligibility for application, allocation of niche and collection of payment of relevant fees.
The successful applicant must bring along the invitation letter and the following documents to the Public Niche Allocation Office at the appointed date and time as stated in the invitation letter in person or fill in the authorisation form to authorise another person to complete the allocation formalities on his/her behalf:
After verification of relevant documents, the applicant will have to pay the relevant fees. Applicant may settle the payment by EPS, FPS, cheque or cashier order at the niche allocation counter. The cheque and cashier order must be made payable to “The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” in the amount of HK$2,490 for standard niche or HK$3,090 for large niche; and the cheque must be crossed.
If the Hong Kong identity card of the deceased person had been lost or returned to the Immigration Department, how can the application form be submitted?
A copy of the Hong Kong Identity Card for each deceased person or a document to prove that the deceased person was a Hong Kong resident (for example a document indicating the name of the deceased person and his/her Hong Kong Identity Card number, such as Home Visit Permit, Certificate of Exemption, Passport/Travel Document, the household permit issued by Housing Department or Housing Society, the driving licence issued by the Transport Department, follow-up card/medical record card issued by the Hospital Authority, etc.). In case all relevant documents have been lost, the applicant may apply for a "Certificate of Registered Particulars" ("CRP") as proof of Hong Kong resident status from the Immigration Department. If the applicant is unable to submit a copy of the CRP during the application period, the applicant can submit the application form with remarks that the CRP for the deceased person is being applied for from the Immigration Department and attached with a copy of the "Notice for Collection of Certificate of Registered Particulars". A copy of the CRP must be submitted immediately upon issuance by the Immigration Department. However, it must be submitted one month before the date of the drawing of lots and computer random balloting.
|What are the fees for the niches in Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI and Cape Collinson-San Ha Columbarium?
The fees for an extendable standard niche for the initial 20-year interment period and permission for placing a memorial plaque in Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI and Cape Collinson-San Ha Columbarium are HK$2,400 and $90 respectively. Whereas the fees for an extendable large niche for the initial 20-year interment period and permission for placing a memorial plaque are HK$3,000 and $90 respectively. Thereafter, the administration fee for placing each additional set of ashes in a niche is HK$140.
All extendable niches will be allocated with an initial interment period of 20 years, after which the interment may be extended every 10 years without limit on number of extensions on payment of a prevailing prescribed fee, i.e. equivalent to half of the fee for 20-year interment period prevailing at that time.
If there is co-location of a new set of ashes during the interment period, the related persons may opt for a fresh interment period of 20 years counting from the co-location date, which may be extended at 10-year intervals thereafter or opt to maintain the original interment period under the status quo. If a fresh interment period of 20 years counting from the co-location date is chosen, fee payable for the extended period (i.e. 20 years minus the unused period of the original interment) will be calculated in accordance with the prevailing prescribed fee per year times the extended period. Fee for the extended period will be charged on a whole year basis. Extended period of less than a whole year will not be counted.
When should applicants deposit the ashes after completion of the niche allocation formalities?
The ashes must be deposited in the allocated niche within 6 months from the date of issue of a receipt stating the number of the niche allotted or from the date when the niche is available for use as announced by the columbarium concerned, whichever is the later.
If the deceased persons' ashes are required to be removed due to closing down of private columbarium, will FEHD provide assistance to these applicants who apply for the public niches in Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI or Cape Collinson-San Ha Columbarium?
After the Private Columbaria Ordinance took effect on 30 June 2017, any person who needs to get back the deceased person's ashes due to the cessation of the private columbaria may submit an application for a public niche if the deceased person meets the eligibility criteria for applying for a niche under FEHD and can provide the documents to prove the identity and cremation of ashes of the deceased person, that is the original and copy of “Permit to Take Away Cremated Ashes” or “Certificate of Cremation”. If the deceased person was cremated overseas, the applicant is required to provide the original cremation document issued by overseas lawful crematorium. FEHD will handle all applications fairly and impartially in accordance with the laws and laid down procedures.
If the applicant fails to provide the required documents due to the cremation was conducted very long time ago or for other reasons rendering the deceased failing to meet the eligibility criteria, how will FEHD handle the application?
If the applicant has reasonable cause failing to meet the eligibility criteria such as failing to provide the required cremation documents due to cremation of the deceased person conducted very long time ago, FEHD will make its best effort to provide assistance on the basis of pragmatic and compassionate principles. However, it is also necessary to strike an appropriate and reasonable balance among the interests of different stakeholders to ensure that public resources are optimally utilized and allocated in a fair manner. Based on these considerations, FEHD will consider exercising discretion as appropriate for cases of additional deposit of ashes, use of temporary storage facilities for ashes or green burial services.
If there is no document to prove the deceased person's Hong Kong resident status, will the applications for funeral services still be considered?
For the application of additional deposit of ashes in public niches, temporary storage services for cremated ashes or green burial services, FEHD will consider the special circumstances of each individual application in a pragmatic and compassionate manner while ensuring the public resources can be optimally utilized and allocated in a fair manner.
What is the difference between the extendable public niches and the previously allocated public niches?
All niches under FEHD allocated before the “Public Health and Municipal Services (Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 2019” came into operation on 26 April, 2019 are permanent niches without time limit. However, all niches under FEHD allocated after commencement of the above Regulation are extendable niches with an initial interment period of 20 years, after which the interment period can be extended every 10 years on payment of a prevailing prescribed fee. The use of the allocated niches may be continued as long as the related persons (i.e. the niche allocatee or nominated representative(s)) confirm the continued use by extending the interment period following the 20-year or 10-year schedule and on payment of a prevailing prescribed fee. Besides, all extendable niches, irrespective of their level and orientation on a niche wall, will be allocated to successful applicants by drawing of lots and computer random balloting rather than self-chosen.
Will the extendable arrangement have any influence on the niches provided by private cemeteries?
Private cemeteries are managed by their operators. In other words, they may determine the means of niche allocation and interment period of the niches under their charge. Although FEHD is the regulatory authority of private cemeteries under “Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, Cap. 132” and “Private Cemeteries Regulation, Cap. 132BF”, the “Public Health and Municipal Services (Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 2019” is applicable to the public niches provided by FEHD only and niches in private cemeteries are not affected.
Will those public niches which have been allocated before the “Public Health and Municipal Services (Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 2019” came into operation be affected by the extendable niche arrangements?
The permanent interment status of all niches under FEHD which have been allocated before the “Public Health and Municipal Services (Fees) (Amendment) Regulation 2019” came into operation on 26 April 2019 will not be affected by the extendable niche arrangements, neither for the addition of ashes in these public niches.
What can be done if the niche allocatee is unable to continue performing the responsibilities as a niche allocatee (e.g. death, emigration or other reason)?
If the niche allocatee cannot continue to perform his/her responsibilities for some reasons, the allocatee or nominated representatives may submit valid supporting documents (such as a Certificate of Registration of Death, a proof of emigration from lawyer, etc.) to FEHD for change of nomination and update of information after verification.
Is the allocation of extendable niches truly fair, equitable and beneficial to all the general public?
The public niches involve the use of precious land and public resources and FEHD has all along been allocating public niches on the basis of fairness, openness and impartiality. After considering various factors, including the use of public resources, the overall supply and demand of public niches, as well as balancing the interests of all stakeholders in the community, FEHD considers it appropriate to maintain the existing eligibility criteria and document requirements for the application of public niches. In other words, if the deceased person meets all the criteria and can provide the required documents, the applicant may apply for a public niche for the deceased.
|How does FEHD deal with the ashes in extendable niche if no application for extension is made after expiry of the interment period?
A grace period of 2 years from the expiry date of the interment period would be allowed for the related persons to contact FEHD to apply for extension. If the related persons do not apply for extension in the grace period (straddling 2 cycles of Ching Ming and Chung Yeung Festivals), FEHD would initiate actions to remove the ashes (together with its container) and other related items, if any, therein from the niche and dispose of the ashes by green burial service according to the choice made by the allocatee in the application form. If the allocatee has not made such choice or both scattering ashes in Gardens of Remembrance and at designated waters in Hong Kong are chosen, the ashes would be disposed of in a manner that the Director of Food and Environmental Hygiene considers fit. The niche will then be vacated for re-allocation. FEHD will set up a nameplate (smaller than the current monument) in the columbarium to commemorate the concerned deceased and also properly document the means and location of the final disposal of the removed ashes for reference of any descendants showing up and enquiring about the ashes in future.
When will the interment period of 20 years commence?
The interment period will be counted from the date when applicant has completed the allocation formalities and paid the prescribed fees. If the concerned columbarium has not been ready for commissioning at time of processing allocation, the interment period will be counted from the date when the columbarium is available for use as announced by FEHD..
With respect to the new niche allocation arrangements, how does the authority handle those applications on the waiting list for reused niche?
Some niches may be returned to FEHD for various reasons and are reallocated to new applicants. Before the implementation of extendable niche arrangements on 26.4.2019, the returned niches will be reassigned to applicants on the waiting list of the relevant columbarium on a first-come-first-served basis. Thereafter, in order to comply with the principles of fairness, justice and the public interest, extendable niche allocation arrangements will apply to both new niches and reused niches. The waiting list for reused niches has already been frozen on 26.4.2019 until all applicants are invited for allocation of reused niche. Thereafter, the public niches returned by the public to FEHD will be allocated to the applicant by drawing of lots and computer random balloting together with the new niches.
How does FEHD remind applicants to apply for extension of interment period and update contact information?
Upon consent of the niche allocatee and provision of an email address, FEHD will create a dedicated webpage for the deceased in the Internet Memorial Service (IMS) website free of charge. The memorial webpage of the deceased in IMS will display the expiry date of the interment period on the front page and provide a dedicated link to facilitate the related persons (i.e. the niche allocatee and his/her nominated representatives) to update the contact list or their contact information. FEHD would also approach the related persons by WhatsApp/SMS, email or other appropriate means to remind them to update the contact details every five years.
In addition, in the four years period from two years before the expiry date until the end of two years grace period after the expiry date, FEHD will contact the related persons through WhatsApp/SMS, e-mail or other appropriate means to ascertain if they would extend the interment period. This process will be repeated every 6 months. In this four-year period, FEHD will also display a pop-up message about the expiry date of the interment period on the memorial webpage of the deceased in IMS. Upon expiry of the interment period, FEHD will make additional efforts to contact the related persons, such as through issuing letters to their last known address, publishing notices in the Government Gazette, newspapers and FEHD website, and posting notices on relevant niche walls.
Where is the Public Niche Allocation Office for processing niche allocation of Wo Hop Shek Columbarium Phase VI? What are its opening hours and enquiry hotline?
The Public Niche Allocation Office is located at:
Units 3501-3511 & 3520-3525, 35/F, Tower 1, Metroplaza, 223 Hing Fong Road, Kwai Fong, N.T.
Office hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m , Monday to Friday,
Enquiry Hotline：2841 9111