In the world’s most expensive city, a casket-sized sleeping space costs hundreds of pounds a month – and the bed bugs are free.
A lack of affordable housing has forced residents in Hong Kong to live in tiny coffin houses as they feel hopeless.
At first glance, the room looks like a collection of MDF cupboards, stacked from floor to ceiling. These are the places known as coffin homes in Hong Kong – and there are 15 of them in a room which takes a mere couple of strides to cover.
They are tiny, cramped, windowless boxes where Hong Kong’s most poor and desperate end up living. And here, in the most expensive city in the world; in one of the world’s top financial hubs, there are an estimated 200,000 people existing in conditions like this, below the poverty line.
Each small box, roughly 24 inches wide (60cm) and 67 inches long (170cm) and packed side by side, is someone’s home.
Statistically, an actual average-sized casket is bigger – by several inches. In many parts of the privileged Western world, these wouldn’t be considered suitable for animals to live in.
And for this, they’ll pay around $2,400 Hong Kong dollars a month. That’s around £230. The bed bugs come free.
According to one report, the average price of a home in Hong Kong this year was more than $1.2m.
It’s also one of the most unequal societies in the world – meaning affordable housing is plain out of reach for a lot of Hong Kongers.