Wrong body cremated

Funeral company barred from using govt facilities

The send-off of Mr Kee Kin Tiong, 82, had been done according to Christian traditions and funeral rites, when the man was a Taoist, said aggrieved members of his family.
The send-off of Mr Kee Kin Tiong, 82, had been done according to Christian traditions and funeral rites, when the man was a Taoist, said aggrieved members of his family.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Embalming facility also has its licence suspended after NEA finds breaches

Harmony Funeral Care, the company implicated in a mix-up that resulted in a wrong body being cremated, will be barred from using government after-death facilities until it can prove it has taken measures to prevent a repeat of such a situation, said the National Environment Agency (NEA) yesterday.

NEA said its investigations found that Harmony Funeral Care had insufficient measures in place to ensure the proper handling of the body, which resulted in the "egregious error".

"NEA will bar Harmony Funeral Care from the use of government after-death facilities at Mandai Crematorium and Choa Chu Kang Crematorium and Cemetery until it can demonstrate to NEA that it has implemented satisfactory measures to prevent such future errors," said the NEA spokesman.

The Straits Times reported on Friday about the mix-up on Monday at the funeral home that led to what is believed to be the first reported case in Singapore of a wrong body being cremated.

The send-off for Mr Kee Kin Tiong, 82, was done according to Christian traditions and funeral rites, when he was a Taoist, said members of his family who were upset and angry.

The other body belonged to a 70-year-old man, although Harmony Funeral Care did not say what happened to it.

Mr Kee's son-in-law, who wanted to be known only as Mr Ho, told The Straits Times earlier that the funeral home had said the mix-up was caused by a male employee who collected Mr Kee's body by mistake from the embalmer.

It was placed in a closed coffin which was taken to the Christian funeral of a 70-year-old man on Monday morning and later cremated at Mandai Crematorium.

The bodies of both men had been lying in the same room at Century Products, a funeral parlour with embalming facilities.

 
 

NEA said Century Products had not kept proper records of the bodies received or removed from the premises.

"NEA's latest inspections of its premises on Dec 31, 2019, also confirmed these breaches," said the agency spokesman.

She added that NEA has issued a notice to suspend the licence of Century Products until it is able to demonstrate improvements to its record keeping to prevent future errors.

Century Products will also be charged under the Environmental Public Health (Funeral Parlours) Regulations for the infringements, said the NEA spokesman.

Those convicted under the regulations face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to twice this amount for a second or subsequent conviction.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on January 05, 2020, with the headline 'Funeral company barred from using govt facilities'. Print Edition | Subscribe