Permanent burial for officer

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 August, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 August, 2000, 12:00am

The senior immigration officer who died as a result of the arson attack at Immigration Tower will be honoured with a permanent burial at Gallant Garden - the plot for civil servants who die in the line of duty.

A Civil Service Bureau spokesman yesterday said the Government had agreed to a request from Leung Kam-kwong's family to allow him to be buried permanently at the Wo Hop Shek cemetery. Those buried at Gallant Garden are normally exhumed after six years under the public cemeteries regulation.

'Since Leung's case is a special one, the Government has agreed to accept his family's request,' the spokesman said.

Leung, 42, died last Friday after suffering 65 per cent burns from the arson attack at the Immigration Tower on August 2.

The spokesman said families of the other 11 civil servants, including six disciplinary officers buried at Gallant Garden, were free to file similar requests which would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The spokesman said officials would suggest to the Executive Council to exempt Gallant Garden from the requirement to exhume bodies after six years by amending the public cemetery regulation it endorsed in 1976. Any endorsement by Exco and the Legislative Council on the amendment will mean the remaining 89 unused burial spaces at Gallant Garden will be automatically exempted from rules which restrict permanent burial.

Wong Wai-hung, chairman of Government Disciplined Services General Union which has been fighting for the permanent burial arrangement, welcomed the decision.

A funeral service for Leung will be held at the Universal Funeral Parlour, Hunghom, at 11am on Sunday. The cortege will proceed to the Immigration Tower where an 'on-scene' ceremony will be held before it leaves for Gallant Garden.

Various Government departments yesterday started ordering wreaths for Leung's funeral and at least 500 senior Government officials and civil servants are expected to pay last respects to Leung tomorrow and Sunday.

Hundreds of mourners are expected to queue outside the funeral hall which can accommodate only 400.