In Hong Kong, the city in which the most expensive apartment in the world is said to have been sold (357 m2 for $US 15.77 million), there are more than 100,000 human beings living in cages, according to the NGO Society for Community Organization (SoCO), based in Hong Kong.
These cages have been converted into refuges for many unemployed people, as well as homeless people and immigrants, whose numbers have been continually on the rise following China’s takeover of the former British colony and the relocation of factories from Hong Kong to continental China in search of cheap labor.
Renting a cage in this Tai Kok Tsui building, in the Kowloon district, has been an alternative accommodation option for more than five decades. For the equivalent of $US 155 a month, each cage man is entitled to his roughly 3 sq m cubicle and a communal bathroom, but there is no kitchen: he must get his food from the street. Kong Siu-kau, 62 years old, and unemployed: “It’s not very comfortable, but what can I do? It’s better than sleeping in the street, and rents in other places are just too dear”.
Víctor Fraile (Spain) was born in 1977 in Santander, northern Spain. He started his photography career as a freelance surf photographer, working for several surfing magazines in Spain, France, the UK, Australia, and the USA. He joined the Reuters team in the year 2000 based in Santander, Barcelona, Madrid, and then in Hong Kong. Furthermore, he has covered politics, fashion, breaking news, and sports assignments such as the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Fraile’s photographs have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, and books such as Sport in the 21st Century and Our World Now, both of Thames&Hudson, Reuters Image Collection, and On the Road: The Art of the Journey, of Reuters.