Forensic Pathology Service
FAQ
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FAQ

1. Under what circumstances will the body of my beloved be transferred to a Public Mortuary of the Forensic Pathology Service, Department of Health for death investigation?
   
2. The Police have made arrangement with me to attend a public mortuary for identification of body. Is there anything I need to pay attention to?
   
3. How is identification of body conducted?
   
4. I do not want an autopsy to be conducted on the body of my beloved, what can I do?
   
5. What documents do I need to make funeral arrangement. Do I need a "Death Certificate" for that purpose?
   
6. What are the procedures for claiming the body from the Public Mortuary?
   
7. How can I obtain a copy of the autopsy report?
   
8. What is the rate of charges for the services provided by the Public Mortuary?
   
9. Are there any organizations providing bereavement support service?
   
1.

Q:Under what circumstances will the body of my beloved be transferred to a Public Mortuary of the Forensic Pathology Service, Department of Health for death investigation ?

A: In general, the body of a person declared dead at the scene of discovery or certified dead in the Accident and Emergency Department of a hospital with uncertain or unnatural causes of death will be transferred to a Public Mortuary. In addition, the body of a person who died under suspicious circumstances or whilst in official custody will also be transferred to a Public Mortuary for investigation. All cases handled in public mortuaries are reportable to the Coroner.(Please see — Categories of Reportable DeathsPDF Format File)

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2.

Q: The Police have made arrangement with me to attend a public mortuary for identification of body. Is there anything I need to pay attention to ?

A: The Police will make prior arrangement with the next-of-kin of the Deceased to attend a Public Mortuary at a specified time and date for identification of body. Please bring along the identification document and any relevant medical records of the Deceased (e.g. discharge summary from hospitals, letters from attending doctors, etc.) when attending the public mortuary.(Please see — List of address and telephone number of Public Mortuaries)

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3.

Q: How is identification of body conducted ?

A: Under normal circumstances, identification of body will be conducted in the morning on Monday to Friday (except public holidays). Please attend the Public Mortuary at the date and time as arranged with the Police and register at the reception counter of the Public Mortuary with the police officer in charge of the case.


During registration, you will be requested by the mortuary staff to complete a "Particulars of the Deceased"PDF Format File form to provide the personal particulars of the Deceased for registration purpose. You will also be asked whether the body is to be buried or cremated. If you wish the body of the Deceased to be disposed of by the Government, please inform the mortuary staff.


After registration, please wait to be called for an interview with the Forensic Pathologist. During the interview, the Forensic Pathologist will go through with you the medical history and the circumstances surrounding the death of the Deceased. After the interview, you will be required to formally identify the body. A "Certificate of Collection of Document for Body Disposal" for later collection of a document for body disposal and a "Certificate of Body Collection" for claiming back of the body of the Deceased will be given to you. Please ensure safe custody of these certificates. (Please see – Sample of "Certificate of Collection of Document for Body Disposal"IMAGE Format File / Sample of "Certificate of Body Collection"IMAGE Format File)

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4.

Q: I do not want an autopsy to be conducted on the body of my beloved, what can I do ?

A: The decision of whether an autopsy is to be done or not is with the Coroner. If you wish to apply for waiver of the autopsy, you must inform the Forensic Pathologist during the interview.


In general, the Coroner would not waive the autopsy if the medical cause of death or the circumstances surrounding the death are not clear. For deaths that appeared to be due to natural causes, please provide adequate medical documentation to assist the Forensic Pathologist in giving an opinion on the medical cause of death of the Deceased for the Coroner’s consideration.

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5.

Q: What documents do I need to make funeral arrangement. Do I need a "Death Certificate" for that purpose ?

A: Proper disposal of body requires a "Certificate of Order Authorizing Burial/Cremation of Body" issued by the Coroner.(Please see — Sample of "Certificate of Order Authorizing Burial of Body"IMAGE Format File / Sample of "Certificate of Order Authorizing Cremation of Body"IMAGE Format File)


Upon delivery from the Coroner’s Court, this Certificate is normally available for collection at the reception counter of the Public Mortuary in the afternoon of the following working day after 3 p.m. You must come in person or authorize another person in writing to collect the Certificate upon presentation of the original "Certificate of Collection of Document for Body Disposal" issued to you during the formal identification process.(Please see —Sample of "Certificate of Collection of Document for Body Disposal"IMAGE Format File)


The so-called "Death Certificate" refers to a "Certified Copy of an Entry in a Register of Deaths" which is issued by the Births and Deaths General Register Office of the Immigration Department. This document is not required for arranging burial/cremation of the body.


For deaths reported to the Coroner, the "Certified Copy of an Entry in a Register of Deaths" will only be available after the Coroner has concluded his inquiry of the death. For all matters relating to the issue of this document, please enquire directly at the Births and Deaths General Register Office at 3/F, Low Block, Queensway Government Offices. (Tel : 2867 2784).

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6.

Q: What are the procedures for claiming the body from the Public Mortuary ?

A: The time for collection of bodies is between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (including Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays). You may make you own arrangement to claim the body during the aforementioned periods. In general, for cases not requiring autopsy, the body is ready for collection at the same time of collecting the Burial/Cremation Order. For cases requiring autopsy, the body is normally ready for collection in the afternoon of the following working day.


When claiming the body, the registered claimant is required to come to the Public Mortuary in person to return the original "Certificate of Body Collection" issued to him during the formal identification process and to sign for collection of the body of the Deceased. (Please see —Sample of "Certificate of Body Collection"IMAGE Format File)

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7.

Q: How can I obtain a copy of the autopsy report ?

A: As stipulated in the Coroners Ordinance, autopsy reports prepared by Forensic Pathologists are to be submitted to the Coroner directly. If you wish to obtain a copy of the autopsy report, please apply directly to the Coroner. (Address:9/F, Tower A, West Kowloon Law Courts Building, 501 Tung Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon. Tel : 3916 6204)

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8.

Q: What is the rate of charges for the services provided by the Public Mortuary

A: All services provided by the Public Mortuary are free-of-charge. Please note that all mortuary staff are Government employees and are prohibited from receiving any benefits in the form of money (including ‘lai-see’) or gifts. They are not allowed to advise on your selection of commercial funeral services. Any person offering benefits to the mortuary staff is liable to prosecution. Should you discover or notice any contravention of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, or encounter claim that money or gifts are required / can be offered in exchange for special treatment, favour or convenience in the Public Mortuary, please report directly to the Independent Commission Against Corruption. (Tel: 2526 6366)

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9.

Q: Are there any organizations providing bereavement support service ?

A: The following non-governmental organizations provide bereavement support service to help family cope with issues of loss and grief :-

Society for the Promotion of Hospice Care

Tel: 2331 7000

Website: http://www.hospicecare.org.hk

Address: No. 18, A Kung Kok Shan Road,
Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong
(Jockey Club Home for Hospice)

Bereavement Support Tel: 2725 7693
The Comfort Care Concern Group

Tel: 2361 6606

Website: http://cccg.org.hk

Address: 303-305, Podium Floor,
Lai Ho House, Lai Kok Est,
Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon
TWGHs Chun Tei Kok Buddhist
Association Limited Centre of Life
Enlightening- “Be-With Service”
(Funeral and Bereavement Support)


Tel: 2884 2033

Website: http://ecs.tungwahcsd.org/
index.php/Tc/Service/gowithme.html

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