I worked in Hong Kong from 2010 to 2012. The first thing I did when I settled down there was buy a DSLR camera. This is a quick account of my strolls and wanders in these urban and green jungles, trying to capture Hong Kong’s contradictions. 
Green and grey jungle
Hong Kong is known for being the city with the most skyscrapers in the world, with one of the highest population densities. Yet, the urban area covers only 5% of the whole territory of Hong Kong. The country parks and special areas cover a total area of 440 km2.

A great egret fishing in a river of Lantau island. May 2011

A view from my bedroom, located on the 26th floor. From there you can understand the density of the population. December 2010

Mong Kok is the busiest district in the world with a population density of 130,000/km2. December 2010

Wan Chai district.


In a 40-minute drive from the city centre, you have access to remote villages now abandoned. Farmers and fishermen who lived in these rural areas were partly subsidized by the Hong Kong government. In the 1950s and 1960s, attracted by the prospects of a better quality of life in the city and threatened by the cessation of public subsidies, they left everything behind to find work in town.

Sha Lo Tung. January 2011

Causeway Bay. December 2011

Repair shop.

The Gini in de(x) bottle
Hong Kong has more Rolls-Royce cars per capita than any other city in the world. It remains the 4th city in the world in terms of personal luxury goods spending.

Hong Kong city centre. August 2011

A Christmas party in the posh neighbourhood of Stanley in the south of Hong Kong island. Hong-Kongese people are trying to adopt a Westerner lifestyle to create a gap with Mainland Chinese. December 2010

An old man starting his day-to-day work. January 2012

Yet, 1.34 million people were living below the official poverty line in 2015. 1 person out of 5 is poor in Hong Kong. About a third of Hong-Kongese residents aged over 65 live in poverty. Many are picking cardboard and selling them to recycling centres. 

A beggar in the very centre of Hong Kong island. August 2011


Trade represents 22% of Hong Kong's GDP and workforce. Thanks to its location and history, Hong Kong always benefitted from specific regulations developed to attract foreigners and investors.

The Apple Centre in IFC mall. October 2011

A street market in Causeway Bay. June 2011

Street food. Causeway Bay. June 2011

Beijing ducks drying. January 2011

A Wednesday night at the Happy Valley horse racecourse. January 2012

While in China, gambling is illegal (except for the national lottery). Hong Kong and Macau both benefit from special regulations which allow casinos and gambling. The Hong Kong Jockey Club has a legal monopoly over betting on horse racing and football. Total betting and lottery net revenue was amounting to EUR3.6 billion in 2017.

A young man in the tramway in Wan Chai district. June 2011

In a century, Hong Kong has reclaimed more than 60 square kilometres of land to the sea.  In October 2003, Greenpeace said that the Central Reclamation would create 580,000 cubic metres of toxic silt. Hong-Kongese government now envisions a 1,000-hectare man-made island in the middle of the sea to resolve a projected shortfall of 1,200 hectares of land for housing and economic development by 2030.

Johnston Road in Wan Chai district was one block away from the sea until 1902. The coastline is now 1 km away from this point. June 2011

Chung Hom Kok beach. August 2011

With white sand and clear sky, the beaches could look like any on a paradise island. Beaches are swamped by trash and pollutants from industries based along the Pearl River delta. During summers, huge algae blooms blanket the sea and beaches in Hong Kong, due to the Pearl River pollution by fertilizers.

A fisherman in Tai O village. May 2011

Overfishing and environmental pollution from Pearl River delta are constituting serious threats for the last fisheries. For instance, Tai O used to be a very important trading and fishing port. With fishing in decline, white dolphin watching and tourism seem to be Tai O's drawcard.

Tai O. May 2011

Two fisherwomen in Lamma island. April 2011

As an important place of trade, Hong Kong has historically welcomed merchants and immigrants from all around the world, leaving the space, at least mentally, to follow their religions, traditions and customs.

The Tai Hang Fire dragon dance is celebrated for three nights. According to local legend, the people of Tai Hang village miraculously stopped a plague with a fire dragon dance in the 19th century. Tai Hang is no longer a village, but its locals still recreate the fiery ancient ritual today with a whopping 300 performers, 72,000 incense sticks and a 67-metre dragon. September 2011

Be ready to shell as much as HKD650,000 for a burial spot in the region's soil. However, you still may be denied if the space is not available.

Incense stick rolls hung in a small Taoist temple in the Mid Levels, Hong Kong Island, December 2010.

Filipinos dancing in a park in the centre of Hong Kong. December 2010

Expatriates count for more than 4% of Hong Kong's total population. Among them, Filipinos and Indonesians are constituting a specificity.  They represent about 10% of the Hong-Kongese working population and are mostly employed as maids. If they can legally work in Hong Kong, they have no right to become a permanent resident. They also must leave the country within two weeks after the termination of their employment contracts. The situation may workers to remain with abusive employers.

A singer in the centre of Hong Kong. November 2010

A participant dressed as a Japanese animation character attending the Animation-Comic-Game annual fair in Hong Kong. He is posing with the ICC tower in the back. December 2010

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