BEING buried alive is an irrational fear many have – but for thousands in Hong Kong it is almost a reality as they live crammed in tiny 25sq ft “coffin cubicles”.
With a spiralling population of almost 7.5million and house prices rocketing, many are forced to live like battery hens in unthinkably small spaces – hidden in the shadows of the city’s illuminated skyline.
The small coffin-like spaces are created illegally by owners who will divide up a 400sq ft flat into around 20 squatter huts, making for suffocating living conditions as kitchens and toilets merge.
Despite most being too small to even stand up in, desperate locals will fork out more than $2,000HK (£200) a month in rent as a housing crisis grips Hong Kong.
More than 200,000 people, including tens of thousands of kids, have to live in these inhumane conditions as they can’t afford soaring rent prices, with some huts – known as coffin cubicles” – as small as 15sq ft.
Photographer Benny Lam documented the grim spaces people reluctantly call home in a series called Trapped, shining a light on the cramped dwellings.
After visiting more than 100 sub-divided flats, he told how all activities from cooking to sleeping take place in the coffin-like spaces.
Photographs lay bare the stark reality of these overly confined box homes, as people are only able to lay straight, some with tiny TVs at their feet.
Possessions can be seen rucked into any space possible, with many sleeping with essentials on their beds.
And with barely enough room to sleep, the kitchens and toilets are combined, with snaps showing food being prepared just inches away from toilets.
“You may wonder why we should care, as these people are not a part of our lives,” Lam wrote on Facebook.
“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.”
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The Sun news desk?