Los Angeles Times

Hong Kong aims to solve its housing crisis with an $80-billion artificial island

HONG KONG - Han Li was 72 years old when she moved from Guangdong to Hong Kong. After a lifetime of working in construction in southeast China, she'd come to glitzy Hong Kong, one of Asia's top financial centers, for a chance to live with her children and newborn grandchildren.

Instead, she found herself alone in an illegal subdivided flat, paying rent of $255 a month for one of 14 windowless, cell-like rooms created from wooden boards, their doors sticking out in a jagged line along a makeshift hallway. Dim light seeped out of the gaps between the boards and the ceiling, revealing cracks on the soiled tile floor.

"I didn't think it would be like this," Han said, wrinkling her forehead.

Now 75, she folded herself onto a cot squeezed next to a stained toilet, the floor covered with stacks of newspapers that she had collected to sell. A man shuffled down the

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