With a population of nearly 7.5 million and very little developable land remaining, Hong Kong has become the least affordable real estate market, making so-called 'coffin cubicles' common. United Nations have condemned these nightmarish living spaces 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 tiny apartments. 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 the Hong Kong population isn't 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 them and us is [the quality of life]. This is a question of human dignity."

"From cooking to sleeping, all activities take place in these tiny homes," 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 an 18-square-feet dwelling for about $307 (HK$2,400) a month.

More info: Facebook (h/t: nationalgeographic)

#1

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Jay Raman
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Atleast put the lid down!

Rasa Nekrošienė
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And I'm bitchy about my 'small' 35 square meters kitchen/living room with large windows to city view... 😭 This really makes you appreciate what you have... 😳

Yvonne Bernal
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

On the up side, you can do your laundry, cook, and eat, all while you're taking a poop!

Samantha Bing
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This make me physically uncomfortable

Rebekah
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Dear Lord, please close the lid!

Rachel Fuchs
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would put a curtain next to the toilet!

Lorraine Lau
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is what is gong to happen a lot of places in the future if we don't do something about overpopulation

Zyra Ortiz
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I refuse to believe that some lives like this....this is a hidden object game....please tell me is a game.

Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It does look like one of those 'find the item' game now you mention it!

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TheRubyFalcon
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Toilet and kitchen right together? God, combining this tiny space with food poisoning.

Sedef Özüpek
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How do they take a shower in there? I see the shower handle behind the toilet. But I can't imagine how would they take a shower? Do they sit on the toilet? Isn't there the hotplate also? Don't they have a risk of being electrocuted?

Michelle
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

he could put the lid down on the toilet, for starters, what if he drops his food in there?!

Laura Lisauskas
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

...and manage to cook a fresh meal! Pure talent

Id row
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I hope these people really see what's happening to them and around them and decide to use birth control. That's the only solution for these wildly over populated countries. If the people really want to make a difference, they'll bag it.

Marlena-Gabrielle
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

UNACCEPTABLE. Come to the US. I will share my condo--I have an extra bedroom,

Fanny Westwood
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's an impressive use of space tho

Selena Vue
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Oh my my!!! Boy am I grateful to have a spacious house.

Lord Vader
Community Member
3 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This story is 1 year old and it just made made news feed. Wth? These rooms could be half this size by now.

Ana Lucia Bertolani
Community Member
4 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

where do these people shower? there is no shower!!!

Marta Brady
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

cooking next to the toilet-scary

Carrie Jo
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This looks like my first studio in Manhattan. 😐

Heather Keedy Bateman
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You might as well rinse the dishes in the toilet, seeing as it's spreading germs to every surface and food with every flush anyway.

Andrei Dima
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Oh lord... Kitchen and bathroom in same room

Isabel Tamayo
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

the kitchen right beside a toilet bowl, how strategic..

#PugLife
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Toilet. Food. Drop. 😰😰

Beverly Palmacci
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

After looking at all the others this one is Shangri la. Presumably it has a place to sleep. The others are just a closet to sleep in. How do they breathe in them?

Beverly Palmacci
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

please tell us there is a sink somewhere.

ReeRee Yarbrough
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

makes me sad for them. I make 921 $ a month and i have space to move around for myself and my cat. This is sick

CV
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So, toilet in the kitchen! That's new 😓

Debra Starr Moon
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You can be on the toilet and reach the stove and "table" at the same time. It's worse than a prison cell. This makes me so sad.

Marie-Louise Chenois
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

At least (s)he has not a long way to do to throw away the rests of cooking

Arlene engel
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is just nasty and unsanitary. No one should live like this.

Paul Longenecker
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Where is the trash can ? Poor guy or gal , but I'm sure that they must have some thing worked out , flush it maybe ?? Thank God for open spaces and acres of land !

Melinda Folcia
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There is something on the bottom center of the picture that seems to be a little dustbin with open plastic bags in it.

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Veleska Harris Pritchard
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

wow. This person is actually living like a king, what with a flushable toilet, a washing machine, a stove, AND a window.

Veronica Goddard
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I hope that's not a restaurant kitchen

Harker C
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

As sea levels rise and we lose coastal cities...welcome to the New Age.

Jane Bateman
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Who cares about the flipping lid up or down... people do you not even realise the conditions this guy is living in! It's inhumane!

daniellabob
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think prisons are a better choice than this.Being claustrophobic I would die in that space not being able to breathe, not better than a coffin.

Melissa Jones
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Ugh toothbrushes on top of the toilet

Mi Mi
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

im a proud filipina and we have toilet rooms separated away from the kitchen....

Sondre Strøm Linde
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Reminds me of that episode of Friends, where Joey and Chandler try to get Ross to get this tiny apartment. It has a kitchen slash bathroom. The big difference is that that was funny, and this is just sad.

Marissa Toussaint
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I hope they atleast lower the lid when they flush: otherwise everything is covered in poop particles. 😣

Charlotte Brine
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I rekon that's pretty low on their 'issues with accommodation' list

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mr toto
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

there is a shower head near the loo.. so how is that going down here?

Charlotte Brine
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Probably showering (washing their face and hair at least,) over the toilet

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Amelia-Jayne
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It would absolutely stink with the food and then the toilet. There's probably no space that you have to eat while on the toilet.....

Jonathan Kline
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I would be able to multitask better than I have ever been able to before...no more wasting time while pooping, now I can start on my next meal, wash my clothes and take a shower using the shower head just above the toilet...

Caroline Gagne
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Convenient and fast ..poop cook clean laundry and soooo much more 😂

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#2

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Jenni Ester
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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#3

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Emre
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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#4

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

#5

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Chris Taylor
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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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#7

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Sheralyn
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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

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#9

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

varwenea
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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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#12

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

JillVille Child Care
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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
Community Member
5 years ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

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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