Priyati her husband and two kids live in a 250 foot square home. Priyati arrived in Hong Kong from Indonesia as a domestic worker in 2004 got married became pregnant and was fired from her job. Priyati’s son one-year-old Akhtar Ihtesham Rama during his afternoon nap, sleeps in the families shared bed. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
Akram Muhammad fled Pakistan after a dispute with the Pakistan army fearing for his life he left behind a wife, five daughters and son and spent 25 days traveling through china and then to Hong Kong by boat where he has lived in a 40 foot square room waiting for his refugee claim to be heard. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
Newlyweds Mudassar Iqbal and his wife Kumaroh are expecting their first child sit in their 200 square foot home in Kam Tin . Mudassar Iqbal fled the war in Kashmir over religious reasons and his wife Kumaroh came to Hong Kong as a domestic worker. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
In 2007 Akhtar Muhammad Saeed fled Pakistan after a land dispute turned violent. His journey to Hong Kong took 10 days crossing over land through China then finally by boat from Shenzhen and for the past nine years he has been unable to return home or leave Hong Kong he has been stuck as refugee in country that doesn’t want him. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
Khosidatun and her son three-year-old Aayan Danish Mehmood in their 100 square foot home her and her husband pay CAN $590.00/month for. Khosidatun arrive in 2006 as a domestic worker got became pregnant and was fired and she has spent the last three years trying to get residency. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
Mohammed Rahis from India has been stuck in Hong Kong for the past 15 years living as a refugee and at times has had to work illegally to support his family of four. (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)
In this episode, award winning photojournalist John Lehmann and I talk about stakeholders, fixers, storytelling and the political paradox in Hong Kong.
As the world wrestles with the influx of millions of refugees into European Hong Kong has chosen to ignore it's own refugee crisis which some are calling Hong Kong’s dirty little secret.
According to the Hong Kong government in documents released last month there are over 10,000 pending claims in the first eight months of the year, the majority of which were lodged prior to 2015.
Refugee advocate Cosmo Beatson, founder and executive director of Vision First, own research of public records shows the Special Administrative Government has a 99.7% rejection rate approving only 37 claimants in 23 years out of over 17,000 applications for asylum, results described as “woefully inadequate and symptomatic of a Culture of Rejection”.
Vision First an independent NGO with a mandate to improve the lives of refugees in Hong Kong, as shown that since 2006 refugees have been finding homes in isolated rural areas across the New Territories because refugees are provided with insufficient government assistance to rent legal housing which leads refugees to settle in and develop distant ghettos
The historic walled village of Kim Tin located just 10km South of the Chinese border has become a microcosm of this problem where refugees are forced to live because of the incredibly high rents in South Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.
Displaced persons stuck in Hong Kong are caught in refugee purgatory can’t go home, can’t immigrate, not welcome and can’t work. Hong Kong, an incredibly affluent Asian city as an unemployment rate of 3.3 % but refuses to let refugees work to better their lives and supports them with an inadequate welfare rate well below the poverty line.
Behind the well maintained and shop filed main street and hidden behind the village’s original walls lies a rat maze of illegal housing. This is the only housing Khosi Datum can afford for her family of three. Originally from Indonesia but moved to Hong Kong to be a domestic worker Khosi Datum, her husband and three-year-old son live in 125 square feet and pay $600 a month which is a little over half of their monthly government assistance for a family of three.
From Take Kayo AKA Big Head Taco YouTube Chanel
In this episode, award winning photojournalist John Lehmann and I talk about stakeholders, fixers, storytelling and the political paradox in Hong Kong. John and colleague Arthur Tsang make their way to Kim Tin village and cover a story about the refugees in China's Special Administrative Region. Please watch my interview with John as he explains the process of a photojournalist in finding and covering a story.