There are several reasons why I think this is not only a non-issue but also a waste of the CPIB's time and resources.
First, the money that is involved is usually a token amount - sometimes as little as $5. I have received a hongbao of $4 for helping out at a funeral.
Second, the practice is more a cultural one, and for some, a religious one. It is done to express thanks or to extend blessings to the worker.
Finally, it is only respectful to accept the token of thanks from the bereaved family.
It can be hurtful for a person to express his heartfelt appreciation for the help received during a difficult period only to have it rejected.
Indirectly, CPIB is also accusing families who give these red packets of offering a bribe.
It is bribery if only the workers ask for it and/or stipulate an amount to be given in return for special services.
The authorities really need to be sensible about such matters.
Tan Whee Cheng
You may want to read other letters regarding workers at crematorium in trouble over red packets:
1) Red packets a token of appreciation
2) Red packets often given as a show of thanks
Giving red packets: Each case assessed on its merits
We thank Dr Ho Ting Fei for her letter (Red packets often given as a show of thanks, Feb 7).
The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) is unable to comment on the case that the writer referred to in her letter as investigations are ongoing.
However, we wish to highlight that each case is assessed on its merits to determine if it is a case of corruption. A gift given innocently and without any corrupt intention is not considered corruption. However, if a gift is given or received with a view to secure or to reciprocate with, for example, an unfair advantage, it may constitute corruption.
We assure the public that the CPIB evaluates all complaints and information it receives seriously - regardless of the value of gratification involved - in order to determine whether corruption offences are made out under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Ms Clare Tan
Senior Assistant Director (Corporate Relations)
Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau