Kowloon slums in Hong Kong. The creepy story of the most dangerous area, where even the police were afraid to enter

There are many unusual cities in the world that differ in their architecture, standard of living, local characteristics and much more.

I think that in every city there are not the most attractive districts, where complete devastation and crime reign. There are many of them in China. And in it there was a unique district-fortress city of Kowloon, located in Hong Kong.

It was demolished in 1994, but until then it had been a refuge for refugees from the country for decades. It was the most populous city in the world and was home to more than 50 thousand people, which translated into a standard conversion equals two million people per square kilometer.

Curious statistics:

👥 Population: more than 50 thousand inhabitants
🗓 When existed: from 1950s to 1994
🏙 City area: 2.5 hectares (about the size of 4 small football fields)
🌆 Maximum number of floors: 14

Previously, Kowloon was a fort from which they wanted to make an embassy

Now let’s get to the point. In 1898, Britain and China agreed to lease Hong Kong. There was one clause in the agreement that seemed insignificant at first glance.

Fort Kowloon on the peninsula of the same name was supposed to remain Chinese, and the British would open their embassy there. He has a small area – only 2.5 hectares… There the Chinese would be able to follow how the British are in charge in Hong Kong.

The British pledged to provide the fortress with everything necessary for life: water, provisions, fuel, and so on. However, during the Second World War, the Japanese invaded the territory and bombed one of the walls.

All officials were expelled from the territory, and as a result, she herself turned out to be free, although it belonged to China.

Officials left Kowloon and it became an independent territory


The quietest life took place on the rooftops


Airplanes flew at this height to the nearest airport

Refugees from revolutionary China took advantage of the situation and began to slowly settle in the fortress. To this territory neither police nor civil servants had the right to access.

Nobody interfered with those who came to build their houses, which violate any standards. Everyone built what they wanted, and the way they wanted. No one tried to demolish the buildings due to the fact that legally this territory belongs to both countries and neither of them at the same time (in other words, it is “no man’s” territory).


Everyone built their dwellings the way they wanted


Outwardly, the city looked like a huge trash heap

In Kowloon, no one demanded documents or licenses, and any thief only had to cross the city border to get the police behind him.

True, some law enforcement officers still tried to get inside, but they were not greeted in the most cordial way – they just scattered.

Kowloon residents could only see sunlight on rooftops

At first everything was quiet and peaceful inside the city. The Chinese built their houses and apartments one above the other, in each even a small wall there were at least 200 rooms.

The only thing that the government managed to achieve from the residents of Kowloon was height restrictions. They were forbidden to build buildings above 45 meters (level 14 floor). This was done for the safety of the aircraft, which already needed to make a dangerous turn in order not to hook the fortress.

So that you understand the population density, the width of the streets rarely exceeded 70 centimeters… Many apartments did not even have windows, as they were covered by other buildings. And to have housing with an area of ​​about 10 square meters was considered an unprecedented luxury.


Typical Kowloon Street


Estimate the scale of the buildings

As the locals said, it was always night in Kowloon. Due to the density of buildings, sunlight rarely penetrated where.

Most active life was spent on rooftops… There, people could breathe fresh air and move from building to building using self-made stairs and various overhead passages. Everything is in the best traditions of cyberpunk, which Kowloon took as a basis.


Another schematic representation of one of the houses

The British government continued to regularly fulfill the terms of the contract: free electricity was supplied to the city, outside the fortress (where everything was thrown out) they took out garbage, supplied provisions and so on.

Chinese mafias were the law in the city, and the population consisted of homeless people and drug addicts

The Chinese triads also considered Kowloon a free zone. They staged a showdown outside the city, and inside peacefully settled matters. However, due to the fact that the police in the city were not happy, the very same triads (they are the Chinese mafias) acted as the law here.

Power over the anthill was shared by two extremely violent groups: 14K and Sun Yi On.

The local flavor was fully consistent with the city. Kowloon hid escaped prisoners, criminals, beggars, bombs, drug addicts, drunkards and many other not the most successful members of society.


A local resident is collecting water


Children spent most of their time on rooftops, it’s safer there.

To meet a drunken Chinese man on the street under opium is a common thing.

All Kowloon establishments operated in several modes

Local establishments were “multifunctional centers”. For example, schools during the day regularly performed their task, and at night they turned into brothels and strip clubs.

At the same time, all the necessary infrastructure was also present: on the first floors, as a rule, there were shops, bakeries, doctors’ offices, hairdressers, and so on.

In the same institutions, they could easily trade in people and engage in prostitution. There was no need to talk about any sanitary standards.

There are no official data on deaths and deaths (and the truth is, why should the mafia keep such archives).

Chinese authorities secured the demolition of Kowloon and built a park in its place

In 1994, the fortified city was finally demolished, and a refined park was built in its place.

It is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in Hong Kong. Kowloon Park attracts photographers, bird watchers and simple nature lovers.


The Chinese authorities constantly monitor the state of the park.

Thousands of people come to Hong Kong every year and make sure to visit Kowloon. There is not a hint of what the fortified city was like before. It’s just a park now.

Nothing remained of the old town. And it’s good, people will at least feel calmer.

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