Expats in Hong Kong score bargain apartments with bad Feng Shui

Published:  15 Sep at 6 PM
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Expats in Hong Kong have found the way to bag a bargain rental apartment is to find one where someone has recently died.

Many traditionally superstitious Chinese strongly believe that when a death occurs in a private home, the result is bad Feng Shui or –to put it in a Western context – the home will be haunted by the spirit of the deceased, making it difficult to rent out or sell. Savvy expats on the island are taking advantage of this belief to land a bargain unit at a low rent.

One Chinese listing site tracks deaths from police reports and local media, identifying the apartments where they occurred. Non-superstitious users of the site can search under the ‘haunted’ category and choose from a number of available bargain rentals. The site has become especially popular with economically-inclined expats as well as hard-headed locals and now boasts around 5,000 enquiries every month.

Discounts can amount to half of the original rental charges, with one notorious property in which two prostitutes were murdered advertised at $3,740, 50 per cent less than the asking rent before the crime took place. According to the founder of the tracking site, Asif Gjafoor, it’s all to do with the traditional Chinese practice of Feng Shui, used to orient buildings in an auspicious manner. It’s believed that a death creates negative flows of energy which can harm new residents.

Meanwhile, on mainland China, there’s good news for expat parents wanting the best in education of their offspring. Representatives of a dozen famous British boarding schools are in Shanghai for a presentation promoting the best in traditional British education. Although the visit is aimed mainly at Chinese students, it’s very likely that expat parents working in the top professional sector and receiving extremely generous salaries and bonuses won’t be shown the door.
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