In Wealthy Hong Kong, The Poor Are Living In Wire Cages

Published May 22, 2016
Updated May 13, 2020

Thousands of poor people in Hong Kong are living in tiny, wire cage homes — and they're actually paying quite dearly for the privilege.

Hong Kong is one of the wealthiest cities in Asia, yet you’ll find hundreds of thousands of people living in what the government calls “inadequate housing” — which for some means tiny wire cages.

An extended housing crisis has put the possibility of purchasing a home out of the reach of many — and has made the cage home a reality for Hong Kong’s poorest. Incredibly, the 16-square-foot cages rent for around $170-$190 USD, which if calculated by cost per square foot makes them more expensive than the most posh apartments in Hong Kong.

Building after building, floor after floor – rooms with up to 30 cages each populate the poorest areas of the city. The United Nations calls the squalid conditions of cage homes “an insult to human dignity,” and as these photos show, it’s easy to see why:

Hong Kong Cage Homes
Playing Game
Wire Dwelling
Cage Home Building
In Wealthy Hong Kong, The Poor Are Living In Wire Cages
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Below, watch this Channel News Asia profile of 54-year-old Yeung Suen, whose home is barely bigger than his bed:

For more on living conditions across the globe, check out our articles on pollution in China and life inside Manila, the most crowded city on Earth.

Erin Kelly
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several published book covers in her career as a graphic artist.