Kowloon Walled City was a loophole, a glitch never meant to exist. It grew organically devoid of building codes and largely absent of legal oversight, a kind of organic tent city times one thousand. As it grew without rules some areas were cut off entirely from natural light and air, crime ebbed and flowed and everything grew densely packed until the government finally intervened – evacuating the city and demolishing what remained.
Kowloon Walled City was a densely populated, largely ungoverned settlement in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Originally a Chinese military fort, the Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories were leased to Britain in 1898. Its population increased dramatically following the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II. In 1987, the Walled City contained 33,000 residents within its 6.5-acre (0.026 km2; 0.0102 sq mi) borders. From the 1950s to the 1970s, it was controlled by Triads and had high rates of prostitution, gambling, and drug use.
In January 1987, the Hong Kong government announced plans to demolish the Walled City. After an arduous eviction process, demolition began in March 1993 and was completed in April 1994. Kowloon Walled City Park opened in December 1995 and occupies the area of the former Walled City. Some historical artifacts from the Walled City, including its yamen building and remnants of its South Gate, have been preserved there.
Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong was in operation until 1998, being synonymous with its stunt runway. With numerous skyscrapers and mountains located to the north and its only runway jutting out into Victoria Harbour, landings at the airport were rather difficult. Jumbo jets would literally do a tower-block fly-by, dropping through the mountains and skimming between high-rise flats and landing just before a drop in the ocean..
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