File - Urban explorer "Jonathan Tsang" dangling a foot over the side of a building in Hong Kong, December 2, 2013. (AFP PHOTO / JEROME TAYLOR)
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Tsang, who asked AFP to use a pseudonym, is one of a growing number of so-called urban explorers, a subculture of adrenaline junkies, photographers and history enthusiasts who treat the world's forgotten – and often forbidden – places as their own personal playgrounds.Hong Kong, a city with more skyscrapers than anywhere else in the world, is a particularly attractive destination for both local and international "rooftoppers," a daring subset of adventurers with a head for heights willing to risk arrest, injury and even death as they scale some of the world's tallest buildings.Getting to the top of many Hong Kong residential buildings, said Tsang, is often as easy as bluffing your way past the concierge and taking a lift to the top floor. Accessing the roof of the skyscraper – a luxury hotel in the city's bustling Kowloon district – was alarmingly easy.Tsang and an urbexing friend who uses her exploring name Airin T simply walked through a mall, into the hotel and took an elevator most of the way up. To avoid any guards or staff near the more exclusive penthouse suites, the last few stories were made on foot via a staircase and through an unlocked door that led to the roof.
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