With a land mass of 1,104sq km (426 sq mi) and a population of seven million, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
These bird’s-eye images have been taken by the Hong Kong-based Society for Community Organisation (SoCO) in a bid to document the plight of the city’s most underprivileged people.
As rent is so high – around HKD$90 (approximately USD 12) per square feet a month – and the waiting list for public housing so long, many were forced to live in inconceivably small spaces to survive.
SoCo says the story is much the same for hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong’s poorest citizens. These images were taken in the districts of Sham Shui Po(深水埗), Yau Tsim Mong(油尖旺) and Kowloon City(九龍城), but it’s a similar picture the other 18 regions in the city.
The group’s director, Ho Hei Wah said, “Hong Kong is regarded as one of the richest cities in the world. However, lurking beneath this prosperity is great inequality in wealth and a forgotten group of poor people. “
‘Hundreds of thousands still live in caged homes and wood-partitioned cubicles, while the unemployed, new-arrived families from China and children in poverty struggle for survival. SoCO’s underprivileged clients are increasing in numbers – while the city’s wealth continues to accumulate.’
In recent years, as the economy of mainland China became less isolationist, Hong Kong evolved once again into a service-based economy.
By the 1980s, it had became an international financial centre and joined the world’s top 10 economies.
Since 1997, when Hong Kong was handed back to China, it has operated under the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, which has allowed the city to retain a high degree of autonomy, including its capitalist system.
As such, it has done little to stem the widening gap between rich and poor.
In 2007, a Hong Kong Government census showed that the number of families earning less than HK$4,000 a month had increased by 80,000, while those on more than HK$40,000 had increased by 100,000.