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
4 years ago

It makes me feel so grateful for my home.

DancingToMyself
Community Member
4 years ago

Ikr?

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Jay Raman
Community Member
4 years ago

Atleast put the lid down!

bpanther
Community Member
4 years ago

It's to add effect to the pic...

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Yvonne Bernal
Community Member
4 years ago

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

Samantha Bing
Community Member
4 years ago

This make me physically uncomfortable

Rasa Nekrošienė
Community Member
4 years ago

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... 😳

Rebekah
Community Member
4 years ago

Dear Lord, please close the lid!

Rachel Fuchs
Community Member
4 years ago

I would put a curtain next to the toilet!

Lorraine Lau
Community Member
4 years ago

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
4 years ago

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

Community Member
4 years ago

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

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TheRubyFalcon
Community Member
4 years ago

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

Sedef Özüpek
Community Member
2 years ago

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
2 years ago

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

Laura Lisauskas
Community Member
4 years ago

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

Neha Sahu
Community Member
4 years ago

This is heartbreaking .

Community Member
4 years ago

cooking beside a toliet?!

DancingToMyself
Community Member
4 years ago

Well, you said it's comfy.

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Id row
Community Member
2 years ago

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
2 years ago

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

Sheila Noreen
Community Member
2 years ago

Close the toilet lid, jeez.

Fanny Westwood
Community Member
2 years ago

It's an impressive use of space tho

Pierre Morin
Community Member
2 years ago

Tout le nécessaire est là.

Selena Vue
Community Member
2 years ago

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

Ste Ven
Community Member
2 years ago

£650 a week in London

Lord Vader
Community Member
3 years ago

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

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

Marta Brady
Community Member
4 years ago

cooking next to the toilet-scary

Carrie Jo
Community Member
4 years ago

This looks like my first studio in Manhattan. 😐

Heather Keedy Bateman
Community Member
4 years ago

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
4 years ago

Oh lord... Kitchen and bathroom in same room

Ollibear Ollibear
Community Member
4 years ago

do they have to be this messy?

Isabel Tamayo
Community Member
4 years ago

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

#PugLife
Community Member
4 years ago

Toilet. Food. Drop. 😰😰

Beverly Palmacci
Community Member
4 years ago

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
4 years ago

please tell us there is a sink somewhere.

ReeRee Yarbrough
Community Member
4 years ago

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
4 years ago

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

Debra Starr Moon
Community Member
4 years ago

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
4 years ago

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

Arlene engel
Community Member
4 years ago

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

Brenda Brown
Community Member
4 years ago

Unbelievable 😮

Paul Longenecker
Community Member
4 years ago

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
4 years ago

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
4 years ago

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
4 years ago

I hope that's not a restaurant kitchen

Harker C
Community Member
4 years ago

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

Jane Bateman
Community Member
4 years ago

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
4 years ago

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
4 years ago

Ugh toothbrushes on top of the toilet

Mi Mi
Community Member
4 years ago

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

Sondre Strøm Linde
Community Member
4 years ago

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.

Lalita
Community Member
4 years ago

how???

Marissa Toussaint
Community Member
4 years ago

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

Charlotte Brine
Community Member
4 years ago

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

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mr toto
Community Member
4 years ago

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

Charlotte Brine
Community Member
4 years ago

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

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Amelia-Jayne
Community Member
4 years ago

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
4 years ago

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...

DancingToMyself
Community Member
4 years ago

I could hang myself while I'm pooping

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Caroline Gagne
Community Member
4 years ago

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
4 years ago

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

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#3

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Emre
Community Member
4 years ago

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

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#4

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

James Floyd
Community Member
4 years ago

The man on the TV should do something about this

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#5

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Chris Taylor
Community Member
4 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
4 years ago

This clutter makes me itchy.

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#7

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Sheralyn
Community Member
4 years ago

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

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#8

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Lou Wow
Community Member
4 years ago

Is that Trump on the tv?

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#9

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

varwenea
Community Member
4 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
4 years ago

That is so sad

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#11

Coffin Cubicles

Benny Lam Report

Liliana V
Community Member
4 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
4 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
Community Member
4 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
Community Member
4 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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