Preventable fires still rage during festival

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 May, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 May, 2002, 12:00am

On behalf of The Green Lantau Association, I would like to thank the Civil Aid Service for its presence over Ching Ming festival last month, at the Wang Tong Cemetery, Mui Wo, which generally catches fire at every grave-sweeping festival.

The patrolling of uniformed personnel, carrying fire beaters and dispensing complimentary containers in which to burn grave offerings, influenced visitors to observe some of the Government's regulations that stipulate a $25,000 fine or one-year's imprisonment for offences.

However, an enormous 90 per cent of grave worshippers at the Wang Tong Cemetery are still leaving grave sites with incense and candles burning, despite government noticeboards that clearly state that all lit materials be extinguished beforehand.

Winds blow, burning material falls on to dry grass and fire ensues. Should it not be imperative that police, fire, country park and civil aid officers insist that families wait until all materials are completely extinguished before leaving the site and threaten them with prosecution if they do not?

Could the authorities, to which I have referred, comment on this proposal? Could they also tell us how many people have been prosecuted to date for setting fires in the countryside?

The media reported that there were at least 105 fires during Ching Ming, but no mention was made of any subsequent prosecutions.


Green Lantau Association