When he was only 18, Ho Hei Wah already had a desire to do something different with his life. The capitalistic world in Hong Kong did not interest him. Behind the city’s glamour and glitz, he saw a hidden world, one where the poor lived like caged animals in wrought iron cages and coffin cubicles.
In land-scarce Hong Kong, where demand has outstripped supply, skyrocketing property prices have forced the urban poor to seek indecent housing options. Nearly 20 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, their plight further exacerbated by the widening income disparity between the rich and the poor. Regarded as one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Hong Kong also has the dubious honor of having the highest Gini coefficient1 in Asia and among developed countries.
Ho was a young volunteer when he had his first eye-opening experience with caged dwellers. Now, a veteran social activist, he leads as the Director of the Society of Community Organization (SoCO), advocating for the rights of the urban poor.