170,000 Living in Subdivided Flats in Hong Kong: Study

170,000 Living in Subdivided Flats in Hong Kong: Study

By Agence France-Presse on 2:45 pm May 28, 2013.
High rise buildings in Hong Kong on May 23. (AFP Photo/Philippe Lopez)

Hong Kong. More than 170,000 people in Hong Kong are living in cramped subdivided flats, a government-commissioned study has found, underlining the scale of the city’s housing crisis. Tens of thousands of low-income families and immigrants are forced to live in the tiny subdivided units, unable to afford sky-high rents in the crowded city of seven million. Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed leader Leung Chun-ying has promised to make tackling the housing problem a “top priority” by boosting the number of new homes for Hong Kong people. But the study showed the problem is even greater than previously thought, with an estimated 171,300 people living in 66,900 subdivided flats.

“About 30,600 such units do not have essential facilities such as kitchen facilities, independent toilet and water supply,” Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung told reporters late on Monday.

The study was carried out from January to April by Policy21, a survey organization comprising academics from the University of Hong Kong.

The Census and Statistics Department last October estimated 64,900 people live in subdivided flats, cubicles, caged bed spaces and cocklofts, which are usually around 3.72 square meters.

The tiny apartments cost less than HK$200 ($26) a month, but poor workmanship and lax standards often create structural dangers, hygiene problems and fire hazards.

In 2011 a fire which started in a street market killed nine people from a nearby tenement after they became trapped as they tried to escape cubicle-style flats through a maze of narrow hallways.

Many of the victims died of suspected smoke inhalation in a stairwell that appeared to have been blocked.

The Asian financial center has some of the highest property prices in the world, driven by limited supply and speculation from wealthy mainland Chinese investors.

The government has raised real-estate purchasing and resale costs for non-local buyers in an attempt to cool the overheating market.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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