Saturday, 13 May 2017

'Coffin homes' of Hong Kong revealed in pictures

Hong Kong residents, who only gave their surname, Lam, top left, Wan, top right, and Kitty Au, pose at their "coffin homes" 

  • Skyrocketing rental prices have driven Hong Kong residents into rooftop shacks, cages and coffin homes
  • Images show the degrading conditions, including combined toilets and kitchens and tiny bunk beds
  • The United Nations have condemned the conditions in the makeshift homes as 'an insult to human dignity' 
  • Single mother of two, Li Suet-wen, pays AUD$785 (USD$580, £447) for 120-square-foot one-room 'shoebox'
  • Rental prices in Hong Kong have soared 50 percent in past five years, now world's most unaffordable market

  • If you've ever lamented life in a cramped apartment, spare a thought for the dwellers of Hong Kong's coffin homes.
    Skyrocketing rental prices have driven cash-strapped locals into tiny rooftop shacks, metal cages and coffin homes made of stacked wooden bunks.
    Images show the degrading conditions, such as combined toilet and kitchens shared by two-dozen people and bunk beds too small to stretch out their legs.
    The United Nations has condemned the accommodation as 'an insult to human dignity,' but those priced out of the market are left with no alternative.

    Hong Kong residents, who only gave their surname, Lam, top left, Wan, top right, and Kitty Au, pose at their 'coffin homes' 
    Li Suet-wen and her son, 6, and daughter, 8, live in a 120-square foot room crammed with a bunk bed, small couch, fridge, washing machine and small table in an aging walkup in Hong Kong



    Li Suet-wen and her son, 6, and daughter, 8, live in a 120-square foot room crammed with a bunk bed, small couch, fridge, washing machine and small table in an aging walkup in Hong Kong
    In wealthy Hong Kong, there's a dark side to a housing boom, with hundreds of thousands of people forced to live in partitioned shoebox apartments, "coffin homes" and other "inadequate housing


    In wealthy Hong Kong, there's a dark side to a housing boom, with hundreds of thousands of people forced to live in partitioned shoebox apartments, 'coffin homes' and other 'inadequate housing
    A set of grimy toilets and single sink shared by the coffin home's two dozen inhabitants, including a few single women



    A set of grimy toilets and single sink shared by the coffin home's two dozen inhabitants, including a few single women
    Single mother Li Suet-wen said she struggled to explain to her son, 6, and daughter, 8, why they live in a 120-square-foot one-room 'shoebox' cubicle.
    'Why do we always have to live in such small flats? Why can't we live in a bigger place?'
    'I say it's because mommy doesn't have any money,' said Li, a single mom whose HK$4,500 (AUD$785, USD$580, £447) a month in rent and utilities eats up almost half the HK$10,000 (AUD$1,745, USD$1,288, £995) she earns at a bakery decorating cakes.

    'They fight over this and fight over that. If there's a day off (from school), the two of them will argue,' she said. 'The bigger they get, the more crowded it gets. Sometimes there's not even any space to step,' she said. 'They don't even have space to do their homework.'
    Wong Tat-ming, 63, has occupied an even smaller 'coffin home' for four years. He pays HK$2,400 (AUD$430, UDS$317, £245) a month for a 3-foot by 6-foot (1-meter by 2-meter) compartment crammed with his meager possessions, including a sleeping bag, small color TV and electric fan.
    His bunk sits beside grimy toilets and a single sink shared by two dozen residents, including a few single women.
    A five year-old boy plays outside his tiny home which is made of concrete and corrugated metal on the terrace of a apartment block as he lives with his parents in an illegal rooftop



    A five year-old boy plays outside his tiny home which is made of concrete and corrugated metal on the terrace of a apartment block as he lives with his parents in an illegal rooftop
    Housing unaffordability remains Hong Kong's biggest social problem


    Housing unaffordability remains Hong Kong's biggest social problem
    Single mother of two, Li Suet-wen, pays AUD$785 (USD$580, £447) for a 120-square-foot one-room 'shoebox' cubicle



    Single mother of two, Li Suet-wen, pays AUD$785 (USD$580, £447) for a 120-square-foot one-room 'shoebox' cubicle
    Tse Chu, a retired waiter, sleeps in his 'coffin home,' a property which has been condemned by The United Nations as 'an insult to human dignity'




    Tse Chu, a retired waiter, sleeps in his 'coffin home,' a property which has been condemned by The United Nations as 'an insult to human dignity'
    Wong Tat-ming, 63, sits in his "coffin home" where is crammed with all his meager possessions, including a sleeping bag, small color TV and electric fan. He and another elderly resident complain to a visiting social worker about bedbugs and cockroaches




    Wong Tat-ming, 63, sits in his 'coffin home' where is crammed with all his meager possessions, including a sleeping bag, small color TV and electric fan. He and another elderly resident complain to a visiting social worker about bedbugs and cockroaches
    Cheung Chi-fong, 80, sleeps in his tiny "coffin home" where he cannot stretch out his legs





    Cheung Chi-fong, 80, sleeps in his tiny 'coffin home' where he cannot stretch out his legs
    A resident who only gave his surname Sin, 55, tidies up the bed in his "coffin home"


    A resident who only gave his surname Sin, 55, tidies up the bed in his 'coffin home'
    Some 200,000 of Hong Kong's 7.3 million residents live in 'subdivided units,' including 35,500 children 15 and under, government figures show

    (Daily Mail)

    

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