Investment advisor Jonathan van Smit is one of the few foreigners who ever sees the dark side of Hong Kong.
The New Zealander walks through poor neighborhoods at night to take pictures of prostitutes, bums and other characters of the street.
Van Smit tells us by email: “I know some Western expats who never eat Chinese food, and who rarely venture outside their expat communities. They’re here to make money not to experience a different culture. They live in a largely expat world, their kids go to international schools, their maids do the housework, cooking and shopping. I imagine that the more local parts of Hong Kong are completely alien to many of them.”
The level of inequality can be shocking: “Hong Kong is either heaven or hell depending on who you might ask. It has the world’s highest Gini score [a measure of inequality] with Singapore 2nd and the USA 3rd. Over in Kowloon you’ll find so-called ‘cage people’, residents living in cages or ultra small dwellings, barely able to make ends meet and end up begging in the busy streets or living off meager social assistance if they can get it. Food and rent are expensive so losing a job can be a matter of life and death.”
Van Smit gave us permission to publish this set of photos from 2012.
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