Kowloon Walled City no longer exists. When it did, it was the closest thing to a Borg Cube that the Earth had ever seen. It was an urban spaceship. 0.26 km²: 35,000 people.
It began, in Hong Kong, as a watchpost to defend against pirates. Through a mixture of oversight and accident, it stayed part of Chinese territory despite British rule. During World War II, the Japanese demolished much of it, including the wall which had separated it from the rest of the world. Then, the Japanese surrendered.
Squatters moved in. Hong Kong Police had no jurisdiction, and China didn’t want to deal with it. Organized crime staked its claim, milking this legal no-man’s-land for all it was worth. But as their power dwindled in the mid-70s – with the help of 5,500 police raids during 1973 and 1974 – the residents remained.
Kowloon bloomed, building up and in, creating an impenetrable labyrinth. The city became known for illegal dentists, opium dens, working families, and delicious dumplings. A single postman delivered mail to every inhabitant.
As the relations of China and Hong Kong improved, both governments could at least agree on one thing: Kowloon Walled City had to be demolished. Residents were compensated – mostly. In the city’s place, there now stands a park.
City of Darkness: Life In Kowloon’s Walled City, by Ian Lambot and Greg Girard