If you are an oligarch or criminal looking to exfiltrate and launder your money, London property markets have been your go-to asset class: London lux is real-estate that behaves like cash, thanks to the long line of oligarchs and criminals who'll pay cash for your safe-deposit box in the sky on a few hours' notice, should you need to liquidate ahead of a purge or an indictment.
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Photographer Benny Lam spent several years documenting grim living conditions in Hong Kong where people live inside tiny "coffin cubicles" within illegally divided apartments. The images are grim glimpses of life in the city with the most expensive housing market in the world. The photo series is titled "Trapped." From National Geographic:
Pushed out by soaring rents, tens of thousands of people have no other option than to inhabit squatter huts, sub-divided units where the kitchen and toilet merge, coffin cubicles, and cage homes, which are rooms measuring as small as 6’ x 2.5’ traditionally made of wire mesh. “From cooking to sleeping, all activities take place in these tiny spaces,” says Lam. To create the coffin cubicles a 400 square flat will be illegally divided by its owner to accommodate 20 double-decker beds, each costing about HK$2000 (over $250 USD) per month in rent. The space is too small to stand up in.
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The core components of a mobile phone are small enough for rectal insertion, so there's really no limit to what shape a phone can take (something you can verify with your own eyes in Shenzhen, where phones are unbelievably cheap (no, cheaper than that), and come in every shape and size). Read the rest
Ricky from Inside the Magic writes, "For this year's Halloween event, Hong Kong Disneyland is featuring the Maze of Nightmares, which features scary versions of classic Disney and Pixar characters. Every year, it's always amazing how much further Hong Kong pushes the spooky fun for Halloween past the 'not-so-scary' version in US Disney theme parks." Read the rest
The Bank of International Settlements -- the "central bank for central bankers" -- has released its latest annual report, warning that the looming debt crises in China, Hong Kong and Thailand could precipitate an abrupt collapse, or, as BIS monetary and economic department head Claudio Borio put it, "That end may come to resemble more closely a financial boom gone wrong, just as the latest recession showed, with a vengeance." Read the rest
The 188 square foot parking space went for HKD5.18m (USD664,300) -- HKD27,500/sqft. Read the rest
Aerial photographer Andy Yeung just released Walled City, a look at how Hong Kong's infamous dense and vertical city within a city resonates in buildings that still stand today. Read the rest
Though he's lived there since 1994, German-born photographer Michael Wolf has only been documenting Hong Kong since 2003. This interview looks at two of his more notable projects: his shots of massive residential high-rises, and the back alleys of the city. Some of the high-rise shots are below: Read the rest
Elected representatives of Hong Kong's Youngspiration party deliberately mangled their oaths of office, refusing to swear loyalty to China (instead swearing to Hong Kong) and pronouncing China as "Shina," a term dating from the Japanese occupation of China (they also held up a banner that said "Hong Kong is not China"). Read the rest
When Edward Snowden flew to Hong Kong with thumb-drives full of damning US government documents, he assumed his freedom was forfeit: he didn't even make an escape plan. Read the rest
19 of the 35 seats up for grabs in Hong Kong's legislative election went to pro-democracy candidates who have vowed to continue the fight for autonomy from Beijing and its program of censorship, surveillance, and autocratic authoritarianism. Read the rest
2014's Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong was an uprising over the Chinese government's announcement that it would exercise a veto over who could stand for election to the Hong Kong legislature (as Boss Tweed said, "I don't care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating."). Read the rest
Lam Wing Kee, one of the dissident Hong Kong booksellers who was kidnapped to the mainland by Chinese spies, only to surface on TV confessing to "illegal trading," now says he was forced into the confession. (Image: BBC) Read the rest
When Brandon Li, a 34-year-old American, went to Hong Kong, he was so taken by the city that he made this stunningly beautiful short video about it, which shows the people, both rich and poor, eating, playing, working, competing, and celebrating.
Li told the South China Morning Post, “Hong Kong is a city which feels like it cannot exist. It is this mix of British and Chinese culture – it is filled with an uncontainable energy of beautiful corners that are sometimes hidden.”
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Five employees of the publisher Mighty Current and its retail arm, Causeway Bay Bookstore, have disappeared from Hong Kong, and pro-democracy leaders say that they were kidnapped to the mainland by PRC security forces in retaliation for publishing books critical of the Chinese government. Read the rest
UK photographer Peter Stewart's collection Stacked is a series of photos of Hong Kong's fabulous high-rises, shot from ground level, looking straight up into the sky. Read the rest
During his visit to Washington last month, China's President Xi Jinping vowed to stop the commercial trade in ivory in his nation, but didn't say much about when or how. Read the rest