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The Ombudsman Probes Management of Permitted Burial Grounds

14 January 2014

The Ombudsman, Mr Alan Lai, declares today (14 January 2014) a direct investigation into Government’s management of Permitted Burial Grounds (“PBGs”).

 

In 1983, the Administration introduced a policy on hillside burials for protecting the traditional rights and interests of indigenous villagers and curbing the problem of illegal burials. Under the policy, a number of Government sites were designated as PBGs for burial of deceased indigenous villagers in the New Territories. Before such burials, family members of the deceased or their agents must apply to the authorities for Burial Certificates and undertake to observe various requirements on land use, public health and environmental protection.

 

After several decades of implementation of this policy, an array of management problems associated with PBGs have emerged, giving rise to complaints, inter alia, about unauthorised works, illegal felling of trees and suspected illegal burials of non-indigenous residents in the PBGs.

 

The management of PBGs is a complex and multi-faceted issue, involving different Government departments such as the Home Affairs Department, the Lands Department, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and the Water Supplies Department.

 

The Ombudsman has decided to initiate this direct investigation to identify any inadequacies in the current management system and administrative procedures, so as to make specific recommendations to the departments concerned for improvement.

 

The Ombudsman welcomes public views and other information on this investigation. Comments in writing should reach the Office of The Ombudsman by 14 February 2014:

 

Address: 30/F, China Merchants Tower, Shun Tak Centre
168-200 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong
Fax         : 2882 8149
Email     : complaints@ombudsman.hk

 

Office of The Ombudsman
14 January 2014

 

For press enquiries, please contact Ms Kathleen Chan, Senior Manager (External Relations) (Tel: 2629 0565).

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