The Guest Room

A Hong Kong blog that does a lot more than blog

impactHK: Caged Homes of Hong Kong- The Visit

Normally, I publish impactHK on Saturdays, but I just couldn’t wait for this one.

This past Tuesday night, myself, our streetSNAP photographer and Mr.Lion Rock News headed out to Mongkok and Sham Shui Po to hand out the $10,000 we raised at Event 3.


We purchased gift certificates from Park n Shop and started our walk with Miss Sze, a very nice lady from SoCO, the Society for Community Organization.

Our first stop brought us to what are called, “Coffin Homes”, and that’s a very accurate description.  These tiny cubicles are ridiculously small and stuffy.  Many of the men who were living in them indicated to me how hot they were, but it was already very obvious.



We were told that these individuals pay around $1800 per box.  We could see that the small apartments had roughly 15 Coffin Homes in each of them.

Quick math indicated that the landlord could bring in up to $27,000 with a full house.  Which is pretty amazing for a 7 storey walk up in a very old and beat down building.  These rates included electric, wifi and air con, but with these boxes closed up with wood, the air con is basically only air conditioning the outside space.

We continued our walk from Mongkok towards Sham Shui Po, coming across so many grateful families and individuals.


Some lived in caged homes like this.






Not only is it tough living in a coffin or a cage.  These people also had to share some of the worst household facilities imaginable.




We spoke with one individual who is a cleaner in a restaurant making around $8,000 per month.  He is paying $2000 for his caged home.  Some pay as much as $2400!

Now it’s very easy to point a finger at the landlords of these places.  They are clearly not humanitarians. We even spotted a electronic neon sign outside advertising caged homes and other coffin like homes for rent.  They are in it to make money and in my opinion that is their right.

My problem lies with the HK Government.  Obviously nobody should ever sleep in a cage.  How demoralizing is that?!  How can something so unjust be allowed to happen?  How can any government worker in a position of power sleep at night knowing that this is happening where they live?

I have lived in Hong Kong for nine years now, and I have just been woken up to this problem, that has been going on for way too long.

You see a problem, you fix it!  Especially when it is so easy!

I got the “bureaucratic red tape” speech from a guy working at the public tennis court the other day.  He told me that I’m not allowed to bring my bicycle into the court to put it next to the bench. To top it off, of the four courts there, we were the only people playing!  The other three courts were empty and this guy came out and made me move the bike!

I’m getting off topic…  but,is the Hong Kong Government that incompetent and afraid as well?!


We have thousands of empty properties in Hong Kong.  We have old industrial buildings empty in excellent locations for residential use.  We have a huge surplus in Hong Kong almost every year.  How hard is it?  Do these government workers just not care?

This problem can and should be fixed!  There are so many options to doing so.  However, I think the first option we should try is to write to these individuals in the government.  If you feel as strongly as I do that this situation is sad and needs to stop, please write a letter and send it to these individuals.

The Chief Executive, Mr CY Leung –

The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs. Carrie Lam –

The Financial Secretary, Mr. John Tsang –

The Secretary for Development Bureau, Mr. Paul Chan –

The Secretary for Transportation and Housing Bureau, Mr. Anthony Cheung –

If you don’t have time to write a full blown letter, please feel free to copy the link to this blog and just send that to them.

Also, please share this blog with as many people as you can.  Help create dialogue and bring as much exposure to this cause as you can.

Thanks again to all of you who attended Event 3 raising this money.  I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go out and help these people and I can’t wait to go do it again and again.





All photos were taken by Sean Creamer.  Check out his amazing work in his streetSNAP blogs on this site!

12 comments on “impactHK: Caged Homes of Hong Kong- The Visit

  1. Gogie
    June 13, 2014

    Atrocious conditions for people in a modern city having to live. I am wondering: Why they are living in such conditions? Are they considered legal residents? Where are they getting the money from to pay their rents? What are the alternatives?

    • theguestroom
      June 13, 2014

      Hi Gogie,
      Thanks for your comment!
      You raise excellent questions!
      They are legal residents of HK. Most if not all, have jobs.
      When you only make $8000 a month, your options are very limited. Although the landlords are nowhere near humanitarian, they are providing an option for these people.

      The alternative in myimited knowledge on the matter is for the hk government to provide more housing for the poor.

      Hope people can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the government doesn’t release enough new public housing because they are in the pocket of real estate developers.


  2. Cali
    June 13, 2014

    Hi Mr. J,

    Hong Kong is very lucky to have caring individuals like you as a resident! For fuck’s sake, this city has more Rolls Royce’s per capita than any other city in the world, and I bet you that we have more cage homes per capita than any other city in the world. You know that the government is being ignorant to the real social issues when the gap between the poorest and richest is huge.

    These are problems shouldn’t be resolved by regular joes, we can help out for sure, but how many of these people can we actually help out? Are we ever going to reach every one in need? These are issues that the government should address to. The government care about making money, but that’s all they care about. Hong Kong has become a more expensive city to live in over the last couple of years, it was mainly because they let an astronomical number of Chinese visitors into the city. Commercial rents are skyrocketing, so commodity has become more expensive. People try to make money however way they can. It is those landlords’ right to lease cage homes, but are those home meet the safety regulations at all? All I see is hazards (especially fire and health hazards) from those pictures.

    I will forward your blog post to all the officials in questions. I hope they will wake up from their dreamland and start letting these people to have lives that they deserve.

    On a side note, I think it is pretty selfish to have children when people don’t have a solid financial foundation or a safe environment at the very least.

    Good work guys 🙂 Keep up the good work!


    • theguestroom
      June 13, 2014

      Hi Cali,
      You raise so many good points!
      It’s shocking that this is allowed to happen and that it hasn’t been stopped after all of these years.

      I really appreciate you taking the time to send an email to the listed people!

      We are in a day and age where we read blogs like this, feel sympathy, but still don’t take it to the next level of writing the email.

      People are complacent and way too settled. Big thanks to you!

      I’ve also sent letters to all of the email addresses with the short link to this blog and a brief note… Perhaps strong…

      You never know what may happen. I hope many others feel the need to do so as well.

      Hope you have a great weekend!

  3. Ray H
    June 14, 2014

    Very sad. Thanks for sharing.

    • theguestroom
      June 14, 2014

      Thanks for reading Ray!
      It is an awful situation indeed!

  4. mariamichelle117
    June 16, 2014

    This makes me sick. The bathroom looks like something out of the movie “Saw”. Thank you for exposing this. I think it will help change things.

    • Mr.j
      June 16, 2014

      Hi MariaMichelle,
      And thank you for taking the time to read and comment!
      This should make everyone sick!
      Yeah that bathroom was the worst I’ve ever seen.
      This has to change soon !

  5. Carmen Lam
    June 16, 2014

    Sorry not sure if my last message went through. Let me do it again just in case..

    Is there anywhere I can receive news on future fund raising events please?


    • theguestroom
      June 16, 2014

      Hi Carmen,
      First time seeing your message. Thanks for trying again!;)

      This coming Saturday, I’m announcing event 4 which will happen in early July.
      Just keep in touch with the blog, especially our Saturday impact HK blogs.

      Hope to see you at an event soon!

  6. brielle87
    June 17, 2014

    A truly disgusting image of one of the most luxuriously appointed countries I visited. This makes me so saddened to think of the abject poverty these people are living in, especially in comparison to the astronomic wealth being tossed around in the designer boutiques sprinkled on every block in HK; the equivalent of tossing pennies in fountains it seems like. Wish there were fewer designer boutiques and better living conditions for the masses.

  7. theguestroom
    September 21, 2015

    Reblogged this on The Guest Room and commented:

    Remember this?!!

Your thoughts please

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on June 13, 2014 by in impactHK and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Join 4,682 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: