Full morgue led to bodies stored on floor
The Health Department admitted four bodies had briefly been placed on the floor at Fu Shan Public Mortuary on Tuesday morning when it was busy.
The case came to light when some Chinese-language newspapers published a mortuary worker's complaint about the incident.
Gloria Tam Lai-fan, deputy director of health, apologised and offered condolences to the family members of the deceased.
A department statement said Fu Shan was overburdened for a while on Tuesday morning, when the mortuary received four more dead bodies than its storage capacity. It can store a maximum of 198 corpses.
As a result, staff temporarily placed the four bodies - wrapped properly - on the floor of the mortuary's cold storage. After some family members claimed their deceased in the afternoon, morgue staff immediately stored the bodies on the floor in proper storage.
Many families prefer not to hold funerals during the Lunar New Year, and the recent cold snap had contributed to the surge in the number of corpses, the department said.
Department figures show that as of 5pm yesterday, Fu Shan Public Mortuary and Kwai Chung Public Mortuary reached 99 per cent and 95 per cent capacity respectively.
The statement said the Kowloon Public Mortuary in Hung Hom - acting as a reserve facility - had been in operation since last month. The department also plans to relocate the Victoria Public Mortuary in Kennedy Town.