Updated at 4.49pm: The government said on Friday it intended to remove human remains buried in 1999 from six public cemeteries. A spokeswoman for the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department told SCMP.com the department sometimes ordered removals of human remains buried for more than six years from public cemeteries. Those human remains affected are from Wo Hop Shek Cemetery?s Coffin Section, Cheung Chau Cemetery, Tai O Cemetery and Lai Chi Yuen Cemetery on Lantau; T Section of Sandy Ridge Cemetery and Government Urn Section of Sandy Ridge Urn Cemetery in Lo Wu. The spokeswoman said about 1,200 human remains were involved. She explained that resting places spared by the evacuation would be allocated to new applicants in future. Such removals were made in accordance to the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, the spokeswoman added. The government on Friday gazetted a notice of intention to remove and dispose of human remains. ?Members of the public wishing to arrange for private exhumation and disposal of any affected human remains should apply to the director of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department on or before June 30,? a government spokesman said. ?Any remains not exhumed as required will be cremated at a government crematorium and the ashes reburied at Sandy Ridge Urn Cemetery or other urn cemeteries as the Director may decide,? he added. Statistics showed some 38,000 people died in Hong Kong last year and the number is expected to rise to 47,000 by 2015. Currently, the government is managing a total of 138,000 public niches. It is trying to resolve a shortage of resting places by expanding some existing cemeteries. The authorities have said it will also consider contracting out the new towers and crematorium to private companies to operate. Applications for private exhumation should be sent to the department?s Cemeteries and Crematoria Office at 6 Cheong Hang Road, Hung Hom, Kowloon. Enquiries can be made on tel: 2364-5399.