Located just outside of Hong Kong, Kowloon Walled City is where Chinese laws went to die. It all started toward the tail end of WWII, when China retook Kowloon from the Japanese. Thousands of squatters took advantage of the newfound Chinese protectorate and moved in with complete governmental protection.
Then, in 1948, the British went to clear the area, but failed so spectacularly that everybody, both English and Chinese alike, issued an official decree of "Screw that place." They agreed to let Kowloon be, but cut it off from all government services, which in communist China was pretty much everything: police, water, electricity, road maintenance, postal services and so on.
Basically, all the dead weight that holds truly great parties back.
They basically Thunderdomed a whole city, and then just walked away.
And to everybody's mutual surprise, Kowloon absolutely thrived on the anarchy.
For 30 years, the city experienced explosive growth in terms of population and square footage: The city was only .01 square miles, yet housed roughly 33,000 people, making it the most densely populated area in world history. Unlicensed 12-story buildings shot up with no planning, untaxed businesses cropped up everywhere and a private legion of often unaccredited doctors tended to the populace. Kowloon citizens even jury-rigged up their own water and electric grids, and though it looked like Tim Burton was their city planner ...
"What's this? What's this? There's color everywherrrre ..."
... it mostly worked. Since there was no law to speak of in Kowloon Walled City, opium bars could be found everywhere, prostitution rings operated openly, gambling dens were commonplace and anybody wanting to avoid the cops had a landlocked Tortuga to retreat to whenever they felt like it.
In Kowloon Walled City, everything was handled by the individual, not the government, and astoundingly, the whole thing didn't implode on itself. But after 30 years, the Chinese finally got it in their heads that Crime Fortress might not be a good thing to have right next to Hong Kong, so they tore it down and built a park.
And rumor has it that on some dark and lonely nights, you can still hear the howling of the libertarians.
For more bizarre places to live in, check out The 6 Best Towns To Live in (If You Have a Death Wish) and The 6 Creepiest Places on Earth.
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