Louis Cha 'Jin Yong'

Friends and family pay final respects to Chinese literary giant Louis Cha ‘Jin Yong’

  • The legendary writer and publisher was cremated on Tuesday at Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island
  • Earlier in the day figures from Hong Kong society attended a private funeral service at Quarry Bay funeral home
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2018, 5:45pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2018, 11:13pm

The late celebrated Chinese author Louis Cha Leung-yung was cremated on Tuesday afternoon at Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, one of Hong Kong’s most important Buddhist sanctums, renowned for its giant Tian Tan Buddha statue.

About 50 family members and friends arrived at the Po Lin Monastery around noon, escorting the hearse carrying the Chinese literary giant, better known by his pen name Jin Yong, to a private cremation site.

The site, called Hoi Wui Tower, was closed from 10am to 3pm for the service. At 12.04pm, the hearse, decorated with white roses and orchids arrived, followed by family members on two minibuses provided by the monastery. Friends of the family arrived at about 12.15pm on a couch and walked into the site in silence. The hearse left at around 12.24pm.

A secretary of the monastery, surnamed Fung, told the Post that Cha’s ashes would not be kept at the monastery.

“The cremation site was closed to the public today at the request of the Cha family,” Fung said. Hoi Wui Tower’s columbarium has about 2,000 niches for funeral urns, more than half of which have been taken, according to Fung.

Fitting final chapter for popular novelist

Earlier in the day, dozens of Cha’s family and friends paid their final respects at a private funeral service at Hong Kong Funeral Home at Quarry Bay. These included former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, former president of the Hospital Authority Edward Leong Che-hung, former president of HKUST Tony Fan-Cheong Chan, film director Ann Hui On-wah, mainland Chinese film director Zhang Jizhong, food critic Chua Lam, writer Chip Tsao and Alibaba chairman Jack Ma. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

At around 11am, Andrew Cha walked out of the funeral room holding a portrait of his father. The hearse then left for Po Lin Monastery.

More than 100 wreaths were lined on the two sides outside the funeral home. Professor Poon Chung-kwong, emeritus president of Polytechnic University, delivered a eulogy at the service.

On Monday, a private vigil was held at the funeral home to mourn Cha attended by figures from media, business, showbiz and political circles.

Floral wreaths were sent from present and past state leaders, including President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, Li’s predecessors Wen Jiabao and Zhu Rongji, and current Vice-Premier Han Zheng.

Located in a valley and surrounded by lush greenery at the back of Ngong Ping Market, Hoi Wui Tower provides cremation only to observant Buddhists who have obtained special permission from the monastery.

The life and times of Chinese author Louis Cha ‘Jin Yong’

Martial artist Lau Kar-leung and tycoon Wilson Woo Ka-wah were cremated at the site in 2013 and 2017 respectively. The ashes of actress and Canto-pop singer Anita Mui Yim-fong are also stored there, under her childhood nickname. Po Lin Monastery dubbed “the Buddhist World in the South” stands opposite the massive bronze Buddha which draws pilgrims from all over Asia.

Also on Tuesday, about 400 people queued to pay tribute to Cha at a public condolence point set up outside the Hong Kong Heritage Museum’s Jin Yong Gallery in Sha Tin.

Cha died at the age of 94 in a Hong Kong hospital surrounded by friends and family on October 30. He published his first martial arts novel, The Book and the Sword in 1955. Following its success, Cha went on to write 14 hugely popular novels. He also co-founded the Hong Kong Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao Daily News.