POVERTY



Winner


Ko Chung Ming - ‘Cents’ Mansion

Ko Chung Ming
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.

Ko Chung Ming
Project Statement

‘Cents’ Mansion

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.