Wrong body cremated: Harmony Funeral Care hopes to settle 'regretful matter' amicably

Instead of a coffin, an urn sits on a small table at the wake of the late Kee Kin Tiong on Jan 3, 2020. Mr Kee’s body had been cremated at another man’s funeral after a mix-up by an employee of Harmony Funeral Care. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Harmony Funeral Care, the company implicated in a mix-up that resulted in the wrong body being cremated in December last year, said it hopes to settle the matter amicably, after it received legal letters from the relatives of the late Kee Kin Tiong demanding public apologies and compensation.

In a statement released on Friday (Jan 17), Harmony said it had left its solicitors to respond to the legal letters but hoped to settle "this regretful matter in an amicable manner".

The Kee family had engaged Mr Andrew Wong and Mr Patrick Tan from Fortis Law to serve legal letters on Harmony Funeral Care; a Harmony employee named Mr Nicholas Ang Kai; Century Products Company, the funeral parlour with embalming facilities where the bodies were kept; and Tan Khiam Soon Undertaker.

The letters were sent last Friday (Jan 10) and the deadline to respond is Friday (Jan 17).

The lawyers told The Straits Times they have received two holding letters on Friday and are awaiting further responses from all the parties involved.

ST understands that the first letter is from Mr Ang, the employee who collected the wrong body from the embalming room, and the second, a joint letter from Harmony Funeral Care and Century Products Company.

As at 9pm, Tan Khiam Soon Undertaker had yet to respond.

The letters demanded that all parties involved publish a written apology to the deceased and the Kee family in all major local newspaper and social media, and to offer a "reasonable compensation sum" to the family.

Harmony Funeral Care and Century Products Company were additionally instructed to give a written undertaking that they would adhere to their proposed preventive measures devised in consultation with the National Environmental Agency (NEA), as set out in their joint media statement.

The letters said that the family had been "appalled and outraged" at the conduct of both companies after the mix-up had occurred and was not satisfied with remedies taken.

In its statement, Harmony said it had repeatedly apologised to the family.

ST reported earlier this month about the mix-up at the funeral home on Monday (Dec 30), which is believed to be the first reported case of a wrong body being cremated in Singapore.

The send-off of Mr Kee, 82, had been done according to Christian traditions and funeral rites, when he was a Taoist.

The mix-up occurred when an employee of Harmony Funeral Care mistakenly collected Mr Kee's body, instead of that of a 70-year-old man.

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