Hong Kong announces plan to solve housing problem with North Korean land purchase

Hong Kong announces plan to solve housing problem with North Korean land purchase

As the city's land woes worsen, a new proposal to relocate to North Korea may be the solution

Hong Kong’s government has come up with a bold plan to solve the city’s housing crisis. Instead of going ahead with the proposed land reclamation project on Lantau Island, authorities have said they are in talks to buy a province of North Korea.

Hong Kong is limited by its tiny land area of only 1,073 km sq, which is home to around 7.4 million people. The lack of land has caused soaring housing costs that have left many young people completely unable to buy a home. The idea was the brainchild of Fun Yi-li of the Housing and Homes department.

“North Korea is, to put it mildly, underdeveloped. And Hong Kong is overdeveloped,” said Fun, in an exclusive interview with Young Post. “If we could be bold, we could move most of Hong Kong to North Korea and no one would notice.

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“Most office workers leave home early in the morning, and leave the office late at night. They don’t have offices windows and are too exhausted to do anything on weekends. If we could export most of our population to North Korea, we could, in fact, tear up a lot of the concrete that has been causing Hong Kong so many environmental headaches, and return most of the region to its natural state.

“It would become something of a wildlife preserve, with only a few hotels and homes remaining.”

Fun says talks with North Korea had been very positive.

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Hong Kong, if it acts quickly, will have a choice of provinces. North Pongan, at 12,680 km sq, which is part of the Kwanso region and shares a border with China, would be easiest to manage.

The Hong Kong government could lease it for 99 years and then eventually it would become a province of China. Given that it shares a northern border with the mainland, this would be as simple as redrawing a few maps.

However, South Hwanghae province, which is part of the Haeso region, boasts a coastline dotted with many uninhabited islands. It shares a border on the south with the DMZ, and would be, Fun said, a favourite with Hongkongers because it is so close to South Korea. South Hwanghae is slightly smaller than North Pyongan, but also a little warmer.

“Hongkongers are not really used to freezing weather,” said Fun, “so they might prefer to live a little further south.”

The problem with South Hwanghae is that it does not share a border with the mainland. However, it could be joined with a large bridge – the cost of which is yet to be determined.

The warming relations between the US regime and North Korea’s President Kim Jong-un gave Fun the idea.

 

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Honest Lee, the CEO of the Malaysian property developer Watta Larf, said his company foresaw a major expansion opportunity. Whichever province Hong Kong chooses would open up vast areas of land for development.

It wouldn’t be difficult, Fun said, to also export the many high-end services enjoyed in Hong Kong now, such as the MTR, schools and power facilities.

Meanwhile, Lee said that the North Koreans his company interviewed were more than happy to be Hongkongers.

“They are looking forward to Hong Kong’s legendary light show,” Lee said.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Bold plan for more land

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