A Hong Kong furniture store has drawn flak after it posted an advertisement for a 68-centimetre-wide cupboard that doubles as a bed meant for domestic helpers.

The images, which were posted on Mainland social media and e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu last week, showed a cupboard that is about 2.4 metres high.

The top half of the piece of furniture, described as a “combination bed”, measures 68 centimetres wide and 95 centimetres high, with a depth of about 195 centimetres. It is accessed by a 147-centimetre high ladder and two slatted doors.

A collage showing two images of the combination bed. The image on the left shows the unit with all its doors and shelves closed, while the image on the right shows the unit with all its doors and shelves on the lower half opened.
The storage capacity of the lower half of the cupboard-cum-bed.

This section of the cupboard is covered at the top, and provides ventilation only via a hole near the head of the sleeping area and the slats of the doors. The entire unit costs more than RMB10,000 (HK$10,828).

According to the Schedule of Accommodation and Domestic Rules section of a Domestic Helper Contract for Hong Kong, an employer must provide a helper “suitable accommodation and with reasonable privacy”

While helpers may share a room with children or sleep in a separate partitioned area of a room, they cannot sleep on “made-do beds in the corridor with little privacy” or share a room with an adult or teenager of the opposite sex.

However, it does not specify any minimum size of a helper’s living space as, “the average flat size in Hong Kong is relatively small and the availability of [a] separate servant room is not common.”

Any application for an entry visa for a helper will be denied if an employer cannot provide a prospective employee light and water supply, a toilet and bathing facilities, a bed, blankets or quilt, pillows, and a wardrobe for free.

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Header image credits: Xiaohongshu

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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