Squatting amid the luxury hotels and malls of modern Kowloon is a dilapidated structure resembling a dirty vent of a giant subterranean machine. This is Chung King Mansions, and how you feel about the place revolves around this question: Do you live there or not?

For non-residents—for most Hong Kong people—it is a hotbed of criminality: five blocks of pimps, hookers, thieves, and drug pushers that is best avoided.

For residents, it is one of Hong Kong’s last bastions of low-rent multiculturalism, where Nepalese guesthouse owners rent out rooms to Thai office cleaners, and Pakistanis sell mobile phones to African traders who hire Indian cargo companies to ship them home.

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