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18 Incredible Photos of 1950s Hong Kong

Like Saigon, Hong Kong has long been one of Asia’s most important commercial centers and both had been shaped by European colonial powers for nearly a century before being captured by the Japanese during World War II.


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By 1950, both cities were rebuilding their economic prowess as the French and British regained administrative control over their colonies. Though Saigon would never regain the status of “Pearl of the Orient” that it once enjoyed, Hong Kong was entering an era of immense urban development.

Like other dense cities around the world, massive apartment blocks bound by narrow streets received only slivers of direct sunlight (think Cho Lon mixed with turn of the twentieth century Lower East Side Manhattan and a dash of Venice) characterized much of the city's lower-class housing, making for these dark but incredible photos taken by photographer Fan Ho.