14 Shocking Photos Reveal Life Inside ‘Coffin Cubicles’ In Hong Kong, Home To 200,000 People
With nearly 7.5 million people and almost no land remaining for further development, Hong Kong has become the most expensive housing market on the planet, creating a dreadful side effect called the ‘coffin cubicles,’ which around 200,000 people have to call their home.
The UN described these tiny 15 to 120-square-foot (roughly, 1,5-12 m²) apartments as “an insult to human dignity,” and National Geographic photographer Benny Lam decided to illustrate this statement with his series “Trapped”.
“That day, I came home and cried,” told Benny while explaining the living conditions in these apartments which usually get lost in the inviting neon glow of Hong Kong.
“You may wonder why we should care, as these people are not a part of our lives,” Benny writes on his Facebook page. “They are exactly the people who come into your life every single day: they are serving you as the waiters in the restaurants where you eat, they are the security guards in the shopping malls you wander around, or the cleaners and the delivery men on the streets you pass through. The only difference between us and them is [their homes]. This is a question of human dignity.”
“From cooking to sleeping, all activities take place in these tiny spaces,” explains Lam. And to make it easier to imagine, Benny used an example of Wong Tat-ming, 63, who couldn’t continue driving a taxi after sclerosis spread into his leg. So now Wong has to live in a 18-square-feet compartment for about $307 (HK$2,400) a month, which he gets from government benefits.
All Images: www.prixpictet.com