Luk Tei Tong villagers to protest today against ‘illegal’ columbarium

Luk Tei Tong villagers will hold a protest this afternoon over construction of a private columbarium inside a local temple.

They say the columbarium would breach land use regulations and result in a large number of visitors to the small village, which connects to Mui Wo by a single path.

Luk Tei Tong indigenous village head Tsang Wunwai says residents are unanimously opposed to the columbarium, which has been enabled by the introduction of a private columbarium law last year.

The To Yuen Tung Temple, which was built in the 1960s, has applied for a licence to build a private columbarium.

It is not clear how big the columbarium will be. According to an Oriental Daily report, the temple will have 4,000 slots for urns, while HK01 reports the number as “more than 1000”.

Tsang told HK01 that the columbarium would affect daily village life and called on the new Private Columbaria Licensing Board to reject its application. He said he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of blocking traffic to the village.

He said residents discovered that urns were being hosted on the site about five or six years ago and had complained to several government departments.

Indignation meeting today

The villagers argue that the project is illegal because the Lands Department has determined is that storing human ashes on the site breaches its land use provisions.

However, the application is now with the PCLB, along with more than 140 others.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department says the To Yuen Tung application was still being processed. It must prove to the licensing board that all requirements have been met, including land use, planning, fire safety and environmental impact.

The To Yuen Tung application is one of six such from across Lantau.

The Lands Department found that one site, Nim Yuen village near Tung Chung, was also in breach of land use rules, but the department lost its case before the High Court  to have it shut down.

Photo (top): Under construction (Source: HK01)

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