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History 's most populous reserve alcoholism , drugs, prostitution and idleness

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District - Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong was the freest place in the world . Until it was demolished. So good order and chaos again defeated , and since then the world has become slightly more than a boring place .

When in 1898 Britain and China have agreed to surrender Hong Kong to rent a multipage agreement had one seemingly minor point . Old Fort Kowloon peninsula of the same name was to remain Chinese . This small , one to two meters, fortress surrounded with a low wall , had become a kind of embassy , from which China could keep an eye on how the British hosted in Hong Kong.

British fortress committed to ensuring the necessities of life : water, provisions, fuel and other things , and sanctify the inviolability of its borders. However, soon they brought back the same group - military , found that nothing interesting, but a few hundred alarmed officials inside the fortress not apologize to China and since then have tried more or less gentlemanly comply with the terms of the contract.

During World War II, the Japanese invaded Hong Kong, broke the wall and dispersed the remaining officials. Nevertheless, after the war fortress Kowloon , even lost her walls and Chinese observers still formally the number of Chinese territory , for because of such trifles to change the entire agreement nobody was going .

That is actually the middle of the overcrowded and bustling Hong Kong formed a piece of vacant land . Of course, long wallow around such beauty could not.

There have acquired the first Chinese - refugees from revolutionary China . Hong Kongers are not being protected by the British protectorate , in Hong Kong , they huddled on the Rights of the bird , and it seemed logical to settle in " China." Especially that no police , no public servant had no right of access to the land.

Characters for " Kowloon ", can be read as "Nine Dragons" . And dragons were extremely accommodating to guests . Nobody bothered coming to build houses there , horribly violate any building codes . However, sometimes these houses erected secretly quite formal and decent construction organizations in Hong Kong , which has resulted in several high-profile cases of bribery of officials and inspectors turned a blind eye to this business . But troubles were only for those who lived outside and inside Kowloon everything was quiet and peaceful.

Local population with impunity throws garbage trespassers

Nobody tried to demolish these illegal structures . Nobody prevented residents attach additional etazhiki , terrasochki and how do nadstroechki anyhow . Nobody demanded trade licenses from fishermen Expanding their catch at a newspaper along the streets spontaneously formed . And any pickpocket , to run away from the guards of the order , had only time to cross the line Kowloon "no man's " land , and pursued him police had to stop the chase. But this theory. In practice , of course, sometimes the guards tried to get in Kowloon, but the big risk that their uniforms after this feat will not take no dry cleaning , because the local population , hiding a fugitive , usually taken with impunity throw garbage trespassers .

And nothing to do with this government could not , because China stubbornly demanded honor Kowloon immunity under the contract . Everyone understood that China is doing this out of spite , for Celestial was unable to influence the course of events in Kowloon and just enjoyed the possibility of a little spit in the soup business partners.

Soup meanwhile received much Jungle .

Life inside

By the nineties, Kowloon population exceeded 50,000 inhabitants. It was the most densely populated area on the planet. Self-made high-rise architecture , welded into one untidy kind of post-apocalyptic masterpiece , was , unfortunately, limited in height. The only thing that the authorities were able to obtain from kouluntsev - it promises not to be based on the level above forty-five meters, as aircraft arriving into a nearby airport, and so were forced to make an extremely dangerous turn , do not catch this Tower of Babel .

But nobody bothered kouluntsam condense inside. Corridor - street between the buildings here were rarely wider than seventy centimeters , housing ten square meters was considered the royal apartments , and most local owner was not a single window from each side, they were buried in the pile-up of the same add-ins and extensions .

Public life is usually proceeded on the roofs , is a relatively common space . There were paths and stairs to go from level to level , then the children played , then acquaintances, fought and nursed young people here basking in the sun old , and adults working people came here to breathe this air and discuss pressing issues .

The British administration as it could comply with the terms of the contract. In Kowloon received free electricity worked , though not without incident , sewage , around the fortress were installed eight water taps and garbage that the locals sometimes deigns to throw out, correctly exported ( with garbage as a source of all kinds of useful things kouluntsy part is not particularly sought and the castle was always packed with all kinds of junk ) . Here even delivered mail. However, postmen who worked at Kowloon Route , first passed long learning from more experienced colleagues to understand the clusters of thousands of mailboxes that kouluntsy hung with pleasant ease on the first available free piece of wall .

Population Kowloon

Vagabonds , beggars , drug addicts and criminals - are the main categories of the inhabitants of Kowloon. Rent an apartment the size of a few suitcases here cost about forty Hong Kong dollars a month, that is at least ten times less than in a decent area . There was no police , and one had complete freedom to do whatever was forbidden to engage in Hong Kong.

Even triad - the all-powerful Chinese gangs - Kowloon kept for a neutral zone : here were banned disassembly, then do things , and the rest were hiding .

Homeless , drug addicts and criminals - main categories inhabitants Kowloon

In Hong Kong's 1996 film " Kowloon - fortified town " describes Kowloon business life : " On the first floor there is nothing but hairdressers, shops and small handicraft workshops. Nothing interesting here is not a stranger sees . But at the level of the second and third floors for visitors admitted disclosed forbidden gates all over the world. Plant for production of counterfeit goods. Underground restaurants that serve forbidden to eat in Hong Kong dogs and cats, prepared according to traditional recipes. Illegal bookmakers and casinos. Great many brothels. And, of course , drug laboratories , opium dens , brothels , in which for a few coins could get a dose of any drug . Intelligence work in Kowloon was almost impossible : here all the inhabitants not only knew each other , but also everything about each other and showed remarkable cohesion , protecting the secrets of their being illegal . Even the children were silent and Kowloon suspicious of strangers . "

When all this was done in Kowloon very little murders and other violent crimes . Everyone understood that the independence of the territory rather ephemeral thing in the case of some very very dramatic events of the authorities will do everything possible to end it. Therefore, in the following order of all - and the triad , and ordinary residents .

Gina Chan , who grew up in Kowloon , said in an interview with China Central Television : "Whatever people felt from the outside, getting in Kowloon , in fact it was a good, good and safe place . We lived in one room with her mother, brother and grandparents , we always had very little money , but I remember my childhood as happy and free time . In the afternoon we sometimes went to the nursery group which organized the neighbors together - there we were taught to read, write , draw and recite poems . But most of the time we rushed a couple stairs, corridors and roofs , playing hundreds of different , but always exciting games . If you're hungry, you gave a few pies in any stall , you could feed the neighbors just any passerby could give a few coins for a hotdog . Children in Kowloon nobody hurt , it was a world -protected and friendly . Relations between the neighbors were so friendly that you could appeal to anyone with a problem. And you would have helped . Yes, there was dirty and crowded, but there was good ! "

End of Kowloon

No matter how good it was in Kowloon , but outside it was nothing but trouble . Hence sprawling drugs and contraband , stolen goods flowed here , here hiding wanted criminals . Another serious problem was the children who were hiding from the school , and unhealthy sanitary situation . Suspected that the Hong Kong flu pandemic , which killed tens of thousands of lives around the world , was born and it has gained momentum in the fortress of freedom.

Britain and China twenty years debating on the issue of Kowloon and the debate has gradually changed the most curious way. The closer was in 1997 - the year of graduation of the lease of Hong Kong , the claims of the parties change dramatically. China now began to demand from the British solutions Kowloon , while cunning Saxons rests on the fact that this area is under the jurisdiction of China.

- We would be happy to do something about this evil and a hotbed of infection , but we have no right !

- Have , have! We give it to you !

- But let me ! It defiles the spirit and letter of the agreement !

- Do not worry, we somehow tolerate ...

Settling fifty thousand bomzhatnika threatens to turn so expensive gamble that Britons protested long and surrendered only in 1987 - in exchange for some preferences on the part of China.

Six years kouluntsev lured , whistling and scraped from their fortresses . They built social housing. They were promised pensions and stipends . They feared the army and police . They were given new passports , announced an amnesty for offenders.

And probably all of these efforts would be in vain sunk , but the day of transfer of Hong Kong , China still approaching , and even the most hard-nosed kouluntsy guessed that in such a situation better quickly turn into a law-abiding citizen with a British passport , than to be at the disposal of Red China , which respect for human rights is not included in the number of strengths.

Kowloon libertines beginning to give up. And in 1993, the last Kowloon grandmother, sighing heavily , have learned from their burrows wash with family heirlooms , sat in a bus provided by the authorities and went to social apartment with hot water and air conditioning. And then rushed to the ancient fortress of bulldozers ...

Authorities did not build there a new area and keep active construction : for all vacant land shortage in Hong Kong it would be dangerous . There is a risk that the spirit of anarchy and unsanitary back : people tend to be long remembered , where you can throw cigarette butts and tear helmets with police and where should walk sedately , keeping public order and cleanliness .

Therefore, in place of the fortress was defeated Kowloon big beautiful park - with paved walkways , traditional wooden bridges and thick golden carp lazily splashing in ponds flawless .

So neat and interesting story ended the freest city in the world .