With a population of nearly 7.5 million and very little developable land remaining, Hong Kong has become the least affordable housing market, making so-called 'coffin cubicles' common. United Nations have condemned these nightmarish cage-apartments as "an insult to human dignity" but according to the Society for Community Organisation, for some 200,000 people it's still the only alternative.

"That day, I came home and cried," Benny Lam told National Geographic, describing his experience of photographing said living conditions. With his series "Trapped," Lam seeks to illuminate the suffocating local dwellings that stand outside the reach of Hong Kong's glamorous neon lights.

"You may wonder why we should care, as these people are not a part of our lives," Lam wrote 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," said Lam. To create the 'coffin cubicles,' flats are usually illegally divided into 15 - 120-square-foot (roughly, 1,5-12 m²) 'apartments'. To illustrate, Wong Tat-ming, 63, who is on benefits after sclerosis in his leg left him unable to drive a taxi, lives in a 18-square-feet dwelling for about $307 (HK$2,400) a month.

More info: Facebook (h/t: nationalgeographic)

#1

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Tersa Smith 2 years ago

It makes me feel so grateful for my home.

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#2

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Jenni Ester 2 years ago

Where are the windows!!! At least one window. This is terrible!

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#3

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Emre 2 years ago

I'd be dead in 2-3 minutes because of claustrophobia

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#4

Coffin Cubicles

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James Floyd 2 years ago

The man on the TV should do something about this

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#5

Coffin Cubicles

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Chris Taylor 2 years ago

Shit just go live in your car at least you'd have windows and a choice of view... actually if you live here I guess you can't afford one

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#6

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Yvonne Bernal 2 years ago

This clutter makes me itchy.

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#7

Coffin Cubicles

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Sheralyn 2 years ago

Dear god. It's indeed like lying in a coffin.

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#8

Coffin Cubicles

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Lou Wow 2 years ago

Is that Trump on the tv?

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#9

Coffin Cubicles

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varwenea 2 years ago

Ironically, the red sign on the far left is a saying to improve wealth; perhaps he should add a few more of those signs.

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#10

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Sonia Leroux 2 years ago

That is so sad

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#11

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Liliana V 2 years ago

It really is like laying in a coffin...

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#12

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

JillVille Child Care 2 years ago

Forced minimalist living... wow, I couldn't imagine. My heart hurts for these poor souls.

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#13

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Lou Wow 2 years ago

I suppose having a TV helps take their minds off their situation.

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#14

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Debra Starr Moon 2 years ago

Amelia, I don't think 'boredom' is a primary concern for these poor souls. Lou, where exactly would he put a small dog when there isn't enough room for him? And Tiffany...lotion for a reason? Really? SMH.

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