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Hong Kong Funeral Industry Raided Over Anti-Competitive Practices

 |  January 17, 2024

The Hong Kong Competition Commission conducted raids on Wednesday, targeting funeral homes and associated premises. The antitrust watchdog expressed suspicion of a trade association and multiple funeral service providers engaging in activities such as price-fixing and market sharing, which they believe have been detrimental to consumers.

The Competition Commission, responsible for ensuring fair market competition, highlighted that the practices under investigation may have violated the first conduct rule of the Competition Ordinance, thereby impacting the funeral service sector. To enforce their inquiry, commission officials, accompanied by the police, executed simultaneous raids at 13 locations situated in Hung Hom, Tuen Mun, and Yuen Long.

During the raids, those involved were ordered to surrender relevant documents and information, indicating the seriousness with which the Competition Commission is pursuing its investigation. The authorities focused on uncovering evidence related to alleged anti-competitive behavior that could have inflated prices and limited choices for consumers in the funeral service sector.

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Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker, Dennis Leung, expressed his support for the investigation, emphasizing the need for government intervention to provide transparency and protection for consumers. Leung called for the government to take additional measures, including offering reference prices for funeral services and creating accessible channels for the public to obtain information about various aspects of funeral services, such as the size of funeral halls and service quality.

“I hope the government will take more action, including providing reference prices for people when handling funeral services, or providing more channels for people to learn about funeral services, such as the size of funeral halls and the quality of the services, so that people can take steps to avoid being cheated and charged higher prices,” Leung stated.

The Competition Commission’s scrutiny of the funeral industry dates back to a surprise visit to a mortuary in Sha Tin in August of the previous year. During this visit, officials reportedly discovered evidence suggesting that funeral service providers were coordinating the sharing of customers, raising concerns about collusion within the industry.

Source: News RTHK