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April 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the completion of the demolition of the Kowloon Walled City, a largely ungoverned slum that was once considered the densest settlement on Earth.
The city, a unique urban experiment, housed about 50,000 people in just 300 buildings, which were crammed together into a living space that followed its own set of laws.
Governed by the Chinese mafia known as 'the Triads', the city became famous in the 1980s for its brothels, casinos and opium dens.
Living conditions were squalid, with cramped and dirty spaces, no direct sunlight, patchy or non-existent electricity, and no garbage collection.
Nevertheless, the city's population grew fivefold in just 40 years, from 10,000 after World War II, reaching 50,000 people by 1990.
Rent was cheap, with an average of just HKD35 a month (about US$4 today) and no taxes were charged or paid. It was therefore very attractive for doctors and dentists and manufacturers who could practice without licenses, or people who could not afford to live elsewhere.
The city's unique political status and anarchic conditions, however, made it an embarrassment for the British government, who after a difficult eviction process, started tearing it down in 1993.
The demolition ended in April 1994. A year later, the place was transformed into a Qing Dynasty style garden.
This animation recreates the historical process that lead to the creation of this fascinating city, and eventually to its disappearance.
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Unlike in the Philippines, the shanty towns or squatter areas held in Metro Manila and among them to uncleaned esteros in Pasig River in Manila was throwned the garbage and many others are some dirty water and poisoned chemicals was never clean up first and here in Hong Kong was all houses and buildings in Kowloon Walled City turns to unquiet first to our place was not quiet here and unliked the Old Walled City of Intramuros in Manila was then built by the Spanish Colonization.
Read "Chasing the Dragon," which was written from the perspective of a Christian missionary. The city was anything but happy. The city had no sewage and feces were dumped on you if you walked through the alleyways. The city had rampant child prostitution, terrifying drug dens, crime, and was run by the Triads.
Because Kowloon Walled City was supposedly Chinese territory surrounded by British-controlled territory, it was effectively one of the few truly free, unregulated places in the world. And notice how the population boomed. The Chinese couldn't rule it, because they were cut off from it. The British didn't rule it, because they only held what they had under the same treaties. Yet people flocked there by the thousands and thrived.
There is a lesson in that.
whoobibi It wasn't exactly the safest place on earth, either. Having heroin addicts run around ripping cat's eyes out on the street. As much as I'm fascinated by the city, I don't think was a good place.
jes a beacon of freedom especially important for those who are afraid of britains countless regularieties its true that throug britains regularities hong kong was build well in the end but such an island was necessary for people who were afraid of the unknown and the unused.
+QwDHi The First It doesn't matter "China" is recognized by who, if it is wrong, it is time to correct it. :)
"China" never existed as a country, PRC can't use "China" to represent itself in any circumstances. They can only use PRC, or "屁咬屎" :)
Can only think in Brazilian favelas and Indian districts, but still not so packed as Kowloon used to be. Is like, yes they are very populated and had compacted housing, but their inhabitants can see the sky and have a bit more of freedom. Kowloon was like a box.
it's the closets thing to this, we have rocinha slum that got more than 1 million people in there, also complexo da maré, complexo da penha, complexo do alemão which are a bunch of slums united
Yes. In this case the triads are so powerfull that they can whipe out an entire generation. Just like in Rio de Janeiro villages or Kowloon city they rule by fear. Psyco murders (like ted bundy style) or even a common thief/robber have no place in this places because that will make tourist to leave, drugs addicto to move away = Bad businness. "So choose: Live poor or No live at all. But no crime or else your familiy will pay"
+ZMowlcher Of course it was a choice. He had feet didn't he? Pick a direction. Any direction. North south east west. Pick it and start walking. There you have it. Choice.
What im trying to do is get to to stop blaming your friends single best option for the shittyness of his life. If kowloon didn't exist he would have had to go somewhere else that would have been even worse for him. In that sense kowloon was a very good thing indeed. Its existence made his life better than it would have been had it been absent. For this it should be praised. That it was a shitty place compared to where ever you live or I or your friend live now is not relevant to this discussion.
+xcvsdxvsx My friend thinks your crazy. He said Kowloon wasn't much of a choice. It was either the streets of Hong Kong or the city of darkness, neither of which was appealing. He told me he was lucky and nabbed a place on the outer rim of the city. He told me, to tell you, Kowloon was a bad place to be. It was worse than the streets. The second he got he cash he left that place. Do you understand now?
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