POVERTY

Winner

Ko Chung Ming - ‘Cents’ Mansion

Ko Chung Ming A family of four lives in a 100 sq. ft. mini-flat in Tsuen Wan. They hope to move into public housing soon, 2012. From the series 'Cents' Mansion.
Ko Chung Ming A family of three lives in a 100 sq. ft. subdivided flat in Tsuen Wan. The boy spends his days on his bed for both studying and playing, 2012. From the series 'Cents' Mansion.
Ko Chung Ming A rooftop house in Tsuen Wan (only 7 feet high) is under threat by dangerous centipedes and a potential ceiling collapse, 2012. From the series 'Cents' Mansion.
Ko Chung Ming A single middle-aged man lives in a ‘coffin room’ (also know as a bed-space apartment) in Jordan. There are a total of 30 ‘coffins’ in a single flat with upper and lower levels. The rent for a ‘coffin’ is over HK$1,000, 2011. From the series...
Ko Chung Ming A sub-divided flat located just opposite the location of the Fa Yuen Street fire in 2011. The flat is immediately next to the back staircase of the building and is always blocked by items. Tenants worry that if there is a fire, they will be unable to...
Ko Chung Ming A ‘caged home’ in Tai Kok Tsui. The tenant is a drug addict. He has not been able to work since a car accident and currently relies on Social Security for living allowances, 2011. From the series 'Cents' Mansion.
Ko Chung Ming A couple and their two sons live in a 200 sq. ft. rooftop house in Sham Shui Po. In summer, the room temperature is over 30℃. Because the flat has no air-conditioning, the mother takes her children to the library to cool themselves, 2011. From the...
Ko Chung Ming A rooftop house in Sham Shui Po. The mini-flat is cluttered with all kinds of stuff. It is an unbearably hot and unhygienic space, 2011. From the series 'Cents' Mansion.
Ko Chung Ming ‘Home for Homeless’ is an NGO that provides short-term accommodation for low-income individuals. Their subdivided flats are bright, air-conditioned and hygienic. They are regarded as ‘paradise’, 2011. From the series 'Cents' Mansion.
Ko Chung Ming A family of four live in a subdivided flat in Tsuen Wan. The tenant and her children prefer to return to their spacious mainland home for vacation, 2012. From the series 'Cents' Mansion.

Biography

Ko Chung Ming is a Hong Kong-based photojournalist with 11 years experience. His focus is on photographic stories, profile interviews, and features. He has covered a specialist eye hospital in Columbia that helps slum-area children throughout the country, the devastating floods in Thailand that swept away auto and electronic factories near Bangkok in 2001, the rapid desertification of Inner Mongolia, China posing a severe threat to the livelihood of its various ethnic inhabitants, and the PM 2.5 air pollution monitoring controversy in Beijing.

Over the years, Ko Chung Ming has received a number of photojournalism awards, including 1st prize Hong Kong Press Photographers Association – Focus at the Frontline 2007, People category and 1st prize in the Focus at the Frontline 2002, Features category. He participated in ‘Art Chat on Harbour’, a exhibition featuring Hong Kong and China artists at the Cattle Depot in 2004.

Project Statement

Facing skyrocketing property prices and rents in Hong Kong, most low-income families left out of the public-housing network can only afford to live in either 100 sq. ft. subdivided flats, 20 sq. ft. ‘caged homes’ and ‘coffin rooms’, or steaming-hot, illegal rooftop flats.

To pay for their substandard living environment, these underprivileged families – with average household income of less than HK$8,000 – must spend more than half their earnings on rent. Not only does this restrict their budget for food and toys for their children, these families also have to live with serious safety hazards such as potential fire threats cause by overloaded electricity wiring amongst subdivided units, blockage of rear fire escape staircases and poor hygienic conditions.