Billy H.C. Kwok - From Transit to New Lives

Billy H.C. Kwok Victor takes a rest after a whole day of farming on his 52nd birthday, which triggered him to realize that he has hit the ten year mark in Hong Kong. He left the refugee camp and eventually arrived in Hong Kong. He says, even though he came to Hong Kong...
Billy H.C. Kwok Arif, centre, holds his new born baby as his family have a meal in a Hong Kong Mcdonalds. Arif is a pharmacology student, who fled his native country in 2009 when terrorists threatened to kill him, and came to Hong Kong waiting to receive state support as...
Billy H.C. Kwok Adam lies on the bed at the A&E dept in hospital. A long transit period made Adam struggle with major depression in Hong Kong.
Billy H.C. Kwok Raja, a Pakistani refugee and chairman of the refugee union, leading refugees to gather outside the office of International Social Service, fighting for a higher welfare subsidy in Hong Kong. During the transit period, conflict arises between refugees and...
Billy H.C. Kwok During the period of Ramadan, with two days to go until fasting, a group of forty Pakistani refugees and asylum seekers gather on a village house's rooftop in Hong Kong.
Billy H.C. Kwok A group of refugees from Bangladesh, sending the human remains of one refugee, who died in a car accident in Hong Kong, back to their home country.
Billy H.C. Kwok Ali, 38, asylum seeker from Pakistan, sitting in his small room in Hong Kong. In order to add some liveliness to his empty home, he hung a wedding photo on the wall as a new decoration. The photo was picked from a garbage heap.
Billy H.C. Kwok A Somali refugee, Adam, 28, posed for a photograph with a helmet he bought from a second-hand market. The white star and light blue background coincides with the flag of his country, while his red scarf was brought along with him from his hometown. To...
Billy H.C. Kwok Victor, right, is moving his staff out from his house, in Hong Kong.
Billy H.C. Kwok Home decoration of a refugee, in Hong Kong.


Billy H.C. Kwok (b. 1989, Hong Kong) is an independent photographer. Graduated from City University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor of Media and Communication, Kwok started his career as a journalist in the print media before picking up a camera to pursue a photography career. He now splits his time for assignments between Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and South East Asia, among others.

Kwok has been working on a long-term project documenting the social landscapes of refugees’ mobility and relationships in Hong Kong: From Transit to New Lives, and at the same time conducting a project on male prostitutes in China’s Pearl River Delta: Sister Chang’e. His work has been published on international newspapers and magazines.

Kwok is highly observant and adaptable to cultural and environmental diversity. Apart from generating still images, he works both individually and collaboratively for multimedia storytelling.

Project Statement

This project unfolds the social landscapes of refugees’ mobility and relationships during their transit period in Hong Kong to their final destination, as an ongoing inquiry into the contradictions within one of the most developed metropolitan cities in the world.

Every year, thousands of asylum seekers escape their countries in the hope of receiving state support as refugees. Fleeing from their homelands, some transit through the glittering metropolitan city – Hong Kong, to reach their final destinations, such as the United States, Canada, and New Zealand.

As a check point, however, as Hong Kong has no domestic legislation to grant refugees temporary or permanent status nor to resettle them. Most of the people strive to establish new lives in a transitory locale, end up stranded in Hong Kong for years on end, and some of them are still waiting to move to begin their new lives. Their mobility is challenged by their stranded condition, but remains active, however restricted.