Eight workers held over coffin thefts

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 October, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 October, 1999, 12:00am

Eight Urban Services Department workers were arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing valuables from coffins bound for Cape Collinson Crematorium.

A senior foreman, six craftsmen, a workman and a former craftsman were arrested after a seven-month investigation.

During a search, Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) officers recovered suspected stolen items including gold, silver and jade ornaments, coins, wartime medals, a Chinese musical instrument, 10 watches and two pairs of shoes.

Some tickets from pawnshops near the crematorium were also found.

The senior foreman was alleged to have accepted advantages from his subordinates for turning a blind eye.

The ICAC probe was sparked by a corruption report referred by department managers in March.

The investigation found that some staff had been stealing from coffins since 1994, but that the thefts had ended this month with the installation of closed-circuit television.

The probe also alleged two of the workers had falsified attendance records, claiming overtime when they were not in Hong Kong.