With an unrestricted, panoramic night view of the city’s twinkling skyline and the breezy air right outside the front door, a 15th floor penthouse apartment ticks all the boxes for a million-dollar property in the heart of Hong Kong.
But there’s a catch.
Fung, 59, who prefers not to divulge his full name, lives in an illegal rooftop slum — a 75-square-feet shack just big enough to host a bed, a cupboard, and everyday knick-knacks thrown pell-mell in the dusty room. The rent costs $1,700 Hong Kong dollars (US$220) a month.
Local authorities have been taping eviction notices on his front door for the past month, saying that he has to move out. But with high property prices and hundreds of thousands waiting for public housing in Hong Kong, Fung, has no other places to go.
“I won’t accept the relocation settlement scheme — it’s only a few thousand Hong Kong dollars. Where am I going to live? The rent is a lot cheaper here,” he says as he crumples the latest notice.
The authorities offer a relocation settlement for rooftop residents, to Fung — it is too meager. Most people in his position don’t have a stable income to start again elsewhere. ….