They were each other's first - and last - loves.
Sweethearts Edwin Hui Ka-wai and Yumi Au Hiu-lam perished together in the October 1 ferry collision off Lamma.
Despite having dated for only two months, their relationship was honoured at a joint memorial service both sets of parents held at the International Funeral Parlour in Hung Hom yesterday.
The funeral of Hui, 24, and Au, 20, drew family, friends, classmates and colleagues, but also government officials. Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung and environmental chief Wong Kam-sing attended.
Au's best friend, Winnie Chung, told the Sunday Morning Post that her death still felt unreal. "We're only 20; at this age, you never think of death."
The ceremony started at 4pm and lasted until about 10pm, during which time traditional Chinese Taoist rituals were performed. A photograph of the young couple was framed by white flowers and incense. Paper goods were ready to be burned as offerings to the dead and flower plaques lined the walls.
The pair were setting off to watch the National Day fireworks on board the ill-fated Lamma IV, a vessel owned by Hongkong Electric that collided with a Lamma-bound public ferry. The couple were among 39 who died.
Prospects were bright for the young lovers. Hui joined Hongkong Electric as a trainee engineer in August and was on track for a master's degree in electrical engineering at Polytechnic University.
Au was studying hotel management at HKU SPACE Po Leung Kuk Community College.
Chung said Au aspired to become a tour guide so she could travel the world.
The couple completed their secondary education at ECF Saint Too Canaan College in Kwun Tong, but did not start dating until they met at an alumni gathering, Chung said. They had planned to take their first holiday together in Taiwan in January.
Au's parents had never met their daughter's boyfriend. In trying to decide whether to hold a joint memorial service, Au's mother had asked Chung if Hui had treated her daughter kindly.
Chung, a swimming instructor, said she never got to teach Au how to swim. She has since offered her parents to teach Au's younger brother how to swim.
Edward Lo Wai-chau, an electrical engineering associate professor at PolyU, said Hui only had one more term to go. "He was very hard-working," he said.
Thomas Koo Man-cheung, 24, was another Hongkong Electric trainee engineer who also died with his girlfriend in the ferry tragedy.