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

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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

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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

Coffin Cubicles

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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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