New Internationalist Issue 276
The material that follows has been provided by New Internationalist
The people in these photographs are now too old to make economic miracles in Hong Kong; some 10,000 of them live as outcasts in cages near the heart of the city.
In 'bedspace apartments' of 100 people or more they occupy a single bed in rows of bunks two or three tiers high. To protect themselves and create a symbolic sense of privacy some fix wire and locks around their bunks, which have come to be called 'cage-homes'.
The lodgers receive a maximum pension from the Hong Kong Government of $232 per month, and pay on average $64 for their cages. They live in constant fear of fire, theft and the spread of disease. Most suffer from respiratory illness.
On Christmas Eve 1990 six people were killed and 50 injured in a cage-apartment fire in Shamshuipo. On Lunar New Year's Day in 1993 Mok Choi, an elderly lady, froze to death in the cage-apartment at 56 Fuk Tsuen Street.
The apartment blocks are constantly being demolished. The lodgers have no security and so must somehow find another cage-home. Protests have been made to the Hong Kong Government, which has so far made little positive response.
The pictures that appear here were taken with the permission of the lodgers, to support the protest.
Mr Dick, whose shoes these are, was once a police inspector. Lodgers are prone to attack by 'tanks' (bugs) and 'air raiders' (mosquitoes). Photo: Sin Wai K
Ho Hei Wah
Society for Community
Organization, Hong Kong
©Copyright: New Internationalist 1996