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Costs vary by public vs private columbaria and burial methods.
This post will discuss the costs of the most common burial options in Hong Kong.
Now that funeral arrangements have been made and good byes have been sent, it is time to consider burial options. Burials are the last and often most difficult thing to do. As with the majority of families in Hong Kong, it is likely that no instructions were left and you are left with the ominous task of contemplating what to do next.
A typical funeral ceremony in Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, the choices of burial methods are not many and of those that exist, the outcome is not satisfying. This guide will run through some of the typical burial methods and the associated costs involved.
In Hong Kong, the most common burial methods are - land burial, ashes storage in a columbarium, ashes scattering in designated area (land and sea) with newer burial methods like memorial diamonds, launching and scattering in low earth orbit and under a new tree representing less traditional approaches. Each method can vary greatly in cost and availability. Quite a number of Algordanza clients will choose one of these methods to treat the remaining ashes on hand, as only 500g of ashes is typically required to make a memorial diamond.
The most traditional form of burial known.
Land burials are the most traditional form of burial. However, with an ever increasing population, land assigned for burial has become scarce in developed countries. Did you know that there around 46,000 deaths in Hong Kong alone per year (2015)?
Due to the space shortage, a burial at a public cemetery must be exhumed after six years so the body can be cremated.
Non permanent - HK$21,600
Permanent – HK$280,000 (pending availability)
The average waiting time for a space at apublic columbarium, which costs about HK$3,000, is now four years.
A space in a private columbarium can put you back about HK$500k -$1million.
In recent years, cemeteries in mainland China and Macau have reported increasing demand for plots from Hong kongersas they seek more affordable options. But even in Macau, a private burial plot can cost HK$1million.
The scattering of ashes at designated areas (land or sea) are the lowest cost method of burial in Hong Kong. The application and scattering process is offered free to Hong Kong residents, with the option of purchasing a commemorative plaque for $90 HKD. At the other end of the spectrum, finding a Niche at one of Hong Kong's private columbaria could cost in the region of $500,000 HKD to $1,000,000 HKD.
In 2017 the government stepped up efforts to regulate the city’s private columbarium operators by forcing them to become licensed by March 2018 after a nine-month grace period. The Private Columbaria Ordinance came into effect on June 30, 2017. But only about half of current private operators might meet the requirements under the new bill, meaning about 300,000 urns could be returned to families, industry workers have said.
Scattering ashes in the sea is on the rise.
In addition to keeping cremated human ashes in private or government columbarium, or scattering them in Gardens of Remembrance of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), etc., members of the public may, subject to the approval of the FEHD, scatter cremated human ashes in Hong Kong waters.
Procedure for sea scattering:
Apply: The completed application form should be submitted at least 10 days before the proposed date for the scattering of cremated human ashes to any one of the following offices of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Section, FEHD.
Cost: approval will be granted normally within 5 working days from the date of receipt of a duly completed application. FEHD does not charge any fee for processing of the application.
Cost of Ferry Service provided by FEHD: Free.
The ferry service is provided several times per month for scattering cremated ashes in designated waters by members of the public. The sails are scheduled for once every Saturday morning (except public holiday). Details of the service are available at the webpage of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.
3 locations for ashes scattering. Photo Credit: FEHD
- Location 1 – East of Tap Mun.
- Location 2 – East of Tung Lung Chau
- Location 3 – South West of LammaChannel
Garden of Remembrance
Ashes scattering on land.
Scattering cremated ashes at gardens of remembrance is another environmentally friendly way to dispose of cremated ashes with growing popularity. Food and Environmental Hygiene Department runs 11 gardens of remembrance in 8 columbaria for the public to scatter cremated ashes of the deceased.
Rituals: Memorial rituals may be performed at the gardens of remembrance. The ashes may be scattered by the applicants themselves or by the staff of Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.
Costs: An administration fee is payable for mounting a commemorative plaque (HK$90) after ashes scattering. Masons registered with Food and Environmental Hygiene Department are allowed to provide services to supply and mount commemorative plaques in the gardens of remembrance.
Other scattering locations
Gardens of remembrance for scattering cremated ashes are also available in the following private cemeteries. Interested parties may contact the cemeteries direct for information.
Converting Ashes to Diamond.
If none of the methods above are particularly appealing to you or your family, there are new burial methods available. Cremated ashes contain carbon, and Swiss company Algordanza has developed a technique to unlock the carbon from human ashes and convert into a pure diamond form. This method of burial is very popular in Germany and Japan where land burials are very expensive.
Raw Diamond grown from carbon extracted from human ashes.
The cost for this procedure is dependent on the size of memorial diamond one wishes to make. An introductory booklet to memorial diamonds can be downloaded by clicking the button below.
An alternative burial method for the 21st century.
The costs of this burial method can be accessed by clicking on this link.