Private funeral for graffiti king after media thrown off trail

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2007, 12:00am

The family of the 'King of Kowloon', Tsang Tsou-choi, paid their final respects yesterday to the city's most famous graffiti artist in a funeral service that managed to stay out of the public eye.

After stating last month that they wanted to hold a low-profile service, the family said farewell to Tsang at the Kam Fook Shau Funeral company in Hung Hom.

But they also booked a hall at the nearby Universal Funeral Parlour, where around a dozen reporters gathered in vain yesterday morning as news spread that a service would be held there.

Tsang died at the age of 86 on July 15, but the news reached the media only about two weeks later.

A few wreaths, including one from a home for the elderly where Tsang lived and some others sent by his friends, were placed outside the Universal Funeral Parlour hall. However, the hall was locked, no photograph of Tsang was on display and none of his relatives could be seen.

A worker at the parlour said: 'I believe that his relatives did not want to be bothered by the press, so they did not hold the service here even though they booked the hall.'

He said Tsang's body had never been sent to the funeral parlour.

'His body was not in the hall. If his relatives were going to hold the funeral service here, the funeral hall would not be empty now.'

Another worker said Tsang's funeral service was held by Kam Fook Shau Funeral, a company selling coffins in Hung Hom.

Yet Tsang's family could not be seen there either and Kam Fook Shau refused to confirm whether the service had been held there.

Simon Go Man-ching, a photographer who had been friends with Tsang for more than 10 years, said: 'I am very disappointed. I feel very uncomfortable. A simple funeral service should be held so that we, who knew Uncle Choi for years, can say our last goodbye.'

Go said he knew about a service at the Universal Funeral Parlour only through a friend who worked in a flower shop that had accepted orders for wreaths for a funeral at Universal.

'We have no intention to harass his family, we just want to pay our last tribute to a Hong Kong icon, who contributed so much.'

But Lau Kin-wai, an artist and friend of the King of Kowloon, urged people to leave Tsang's family alone.

'I know them quite well. They are not the sort of people who can live in the public eye. They can't deal with the pressure.'

Lau said an exhibition of Tsang's work would be held soon, with details to be released later this week.