Mortuary opens early to cope with demand

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 July, 2005, 12:00am

A new 'world-class' mortuary was opened two months ahead of schedule yesterday to ease pressure on the three other public mortuaries. It received 30 bodies from the mortuary in Hunghom.

Kwai Chung Public Mortuary, which cost $160 million and had been due to open in September, has storage space for 220 corpses, a room for keeping decomposed bodies and two autopsy rooms.

'This is a world-class mortuary. It shows our determination to solve the current problem of the lack of storage space for dead bodies,' said the director of health, Lam Ping-yan. 'It is hoped bodies need not be put on the floor any more.'

A consultant forensic pathologist with the Department of Health, Michael Mong Hoi-keung, said the treatment of bodies in the facility would comply with international standards.

'The benches of the autopsy rooms are made of stainless steel to ensure good hygiene.'

Viewing rooms will allow families to identify the dead from behind a window. Comfort rooms will be available for people who get too emotional.

Funeral Association chairman Ng Yiu-tong said he had visited the building and while he rejected the notion it was 'world-class', it was adequate.

He urged the government to improve the conditions of the three existing mortuaries, which he said had terrible ventilation systems. 'You can get that revolting smell from the bodies even at 30 feet away,' he said.