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

Tersa Smith
Community Member
2 years ago

It makes me feel so grateful for my home.

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#2

Coffin Cubicles

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Jenni Ester
Community Member
2 years ago

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

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#3

Coffin Cubicles

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Emre
Community Member
2 years ago

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

Gayle Warren
Community Member
2 years ago

I started to get short of breath when I saw the first picture

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İdil
Community Member
2 years ago

Oh god just commit a minor crime and live in a jail, you'd have more room. And possibly new friends that could come over to your cell.

Claire Sylvester
Community Member
2 years ago

Oh no. It's worse than a prison cell

Lou Wow
Community Member
2 years ago

Must be hot in there.

Doreen Ball
Community Member
2 years ago

I can't imagine - between the steel walls and no ventilation

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DancingToMyself
Community Member
2 years ago

Sweet Lord, poor people :/

Rose Jones
Community Member
2 years ago

This is the worst one I've seen, and without the distraction of all the clutter in the other pics I actually feel deeply ill at ease.

Fairsher
Community Member
2 years ago

omg I can't breath just looking at this!!!

Amanda Barnes
Community Member
2 years ago

This makes me sad but it's better than sleeping on the streets. At the very least you have a place to lay your head down.

Trish McBride
Community Member
2 years ago

This one is so small omg I'd have a panic attack. This is really sad, I had no idea it was like this there... :(

Liliana V
Community Member
2 years ago

My mind is officially blown.

FABULOUS1
Community Member
2 years ago

I would not last more then a minute.

Corey Dahlheim
Community Member
8 months ago

Reminds me of my rack on the ships I’ve served on

Brittany Farrell
Community Member
9 months ago

It’s like living in a toolbox! 😳

Shannan Paige
Community Member
9 months ago

More like a coffin

Eric Nelson
Community Member
2 years ago

Wow, this would be a nightmare for big, tall people! If you're overweight, forget about it! And of course claustrophobics would flip out!!!

Andrei Dima
Community Member
2 years ago

It actually looks like you are in a coffin Jeez

Sonia Leroux
Community Member
2 years ago

How do they get out ?

Randall Thomas
Community Member
8 months ago

that's the kind of place police find people murdered in

Azure Adams
Community Member
8 months ago

how do you get in and out of this one?

Lord Vader
Community Member
1 year ago

Just hang a hammock, bet it would fit.

Ginette Rochon
Community Member
2 years ago

No air, no day light, it's enough to go crazy....I know I would suffocate....

jo_shortland
Community Member
2 years ago

This is awful

Susan Williams
Community Member
2 years ago

I looked at this picture and immediately thought, "I would die."

CV
Community Member
2 years ago

I got a minor claustrophobic attack after seeing this

Arlene engel
Community Member
2 years ago

It is like a coffin

Donna Oades
Community Member
2 years ago

I can't believe how minimalistic this one is. Where's this dudes belongings, does he only own the clothes on his back and the waistcoat hanging up on the right?!

Reza Mobasseri
Community Member
2 years ago

Cozy!

Norma Titsworth
Community Member
2 years ago

I agree! Just looking at these places I feel my anxiety level rising!

Brenda Brown
Community Member
2 years ago

No windows? It's inhuman 😧

Coreen Kerr
Community Member
2 years ago

Why the hell isn't the "government" stepping in & helping? By limiting families to 1 child per family only caused the death of thousands of female babies. I know for a fact a large majority of these Chinese families have been lucky enough to immigrate to my Country Canada why aren't they fighting for those left behind??

Jane Bateman
Community Member
2 years ago

God no... I just couldn't live like this

Rasa Nekrošienė
Community Member
2 years ago

This one doesn't have much studf... 😥

Thuong Vu
Community Member
2 years ago

The funny thing is why they must divide the already super tiny space like that? Why not living together and at least having some air to breath?

Manuela Simon
Community Member
2 years ago

300 USD a month for THIS?!?!

Karol CH
Community Member
2 years ago

Definitely the worst one of the pics. But ther must be some more room. Looks like a corridor. There is almost no personal items. What we should do? Another shocking story we could do nothing about it.

Diksha Deshpande
Community Member
2 years ago

Keeping your food next to your feet... I can't.

Volkan Başoğlu
Community Member
2 years ago

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minimalist?

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#4

Coffin Cubicles

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James Floyd
Community Member
2 years ago

The man on the TV should do something about this

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#5

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Chris Taylor
Community Member
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
Community Member
2 years ago

This clutter makes me itchy.

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#7

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Sheralyn
Community Member
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
Community Member
2 years ago

Is that Trump on the tv?

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#9

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varwenea
Community Member
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
Community Member
2 years ago

That is so sad

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#11

Coffin Cubicles

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Liliana V
Community Member
2 years ago

It really is like laying in a coffin...

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#12

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

JillVille Child Care
Community Member
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

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Lou Wow
Community Member
2 years ago

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

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#14

Coffin Cubicles

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Debra Starr Moon
Community Member
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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