Kowloon Walled City Documentary

This is a 1989 German documentary, presented here with English subtitles, on the fabled Kowloon Walled City, one of the most densely populated, largely ungoverned settlement in Hong Kong. Originally a Chinese military fort, the Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories were leased to Britain in 1898. Its population increased dramatically following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II. From the 1950s to the 1970s, it was controlled by Triads and had high rates of prostitution, gambling, and drug use. In 1987, the Walled City contained 33,000 residents within its 6.5-acre (0.03 km2; 0.01 sq mi) borders. In January 1987, the Hong Kong government announced plans to demolish the Walled City. After an arduous eviction process, demolition began in March 1993 and was completed in April 1994.

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7 Responses

  1. Redroom Studios says:

    wow, this was truly shocking stuff! the conditions were deplorable and its sad that some humans have little choice but to live in these conditions. Imagine living in there, working some meanial job for 12 hours a day, never enjoying fresh air or nature! Well, it just goes to show that humans are the most adaptable creatures on earth… its a good thing that the government moved to demolish it, surely for the betterment of former residents.

  2. shapeshift says:

    When I was watching I was thinking of ant colonies. It’s just incredible how the architecture evolved to the state that it was. I just arrived in HK and it would have been a wonder to photograph but unfortunately I think little of the old HK is left.

  3. Redroom Studios says:

    oh wow, another trip eh? lucky you! have a great time David.

  4. CS says:

    That was what I thought too – any colonies. When I was about 11 or 12, I used to have a pen pal from Kowloon. I remember she sent me a photo of her home and it looked very much like the walled city (the outside)! I don’t think she and her family was part of it though; I think a lot of dwellings look similar in old Kowloon.

  5. shapeshift says:

    How interesting that you had a pen pal in Kowloon!… I just learned of another slum colony – Dharavi, Mumbai. It is more sprawling than vertical but has the same organic quality. Unfortunately, the host of that show is so obnoxious that I will probably not post it. You can see it here if interested… (http://www.shapeshift.net/2011/02/slumming-it-dharavi-mumbai/)

  6. CS says:

    I watched all 4 segments of Episode and wow, that is slum of slums alright! Did I miss anything about the host though? He is a bit of a ‘whinge bag’ (whinge = whine, in the States) but I think his personality is quite typical of an ordinary English or Aussie bloke — too honest to the point of being offensive to the outside ear. :D

  7. shapeshift says:

    I guess I was surprised that a show named Slumming It would have as a host someone that keeps whining while he is slumming it. However, I can see how it makes it more appealing. You’ve convinced me to post it…

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