Hong Kong as you've never seen it before: Daredevil duo scale city's highest buildings
Two young tourists left the city with the kind of holiday snaps your friends and family would rather not see. Now they are coming back …
After cavorting about on the roofs of 15 skyscrapers in Hong Kong, including the 78-storey, 374metre-high Central Plaza in Wan Chai, two daredevils from Ukraine and Russia plan to return to the city next month to get to the roof of the IFC, some 400 metres above ground.
Thrillseekers Vitaliy Raskalov, 21, and Vadim Makhorov, 24, have taken photographs and videos atop some of the most famous landmarks on the planet, including the Eiffel Tower and the pyramids of Giza.
This month, a video showing them on top of the world's second-tallest building went viral. It shows them making their way up the stairs of the as-yet unfinished Shanghai Tower, then emerging some 630 metres above ground before clambering up a crane - without safety equipment.
"We are Russian and Ukrainian. We don't get scared," said Raskalov, the Ukrainian in that equation, in an interview with the South China Morning Post. The duo spent two weeks at the beginning of the year climbing Hong Kong's towers before heading for Shanghai.
"Shanghai is bigger than Hong Kong and polluted and cold," said Raskalov, who is currently in the Thai capital of Bangkok. "The buildings in Hong Kong are so close together that we just had to look up from the ground and choose the nearest tall building to go into. There was no pollution and it was sunny."
The photographs of their visit make frightening viewing. They can be seen edging along a narrow ledge at the top of the 38-storey Best Western Harbour View hotel in Sai Ying Pun and standing on top of the needle of Sino Plaza in Causeway Bay.
Raskalov said he and Makhorov tried to get to the top of Hong Kong's tallest building, the 484-metre-high International Commerce Centre, but were foiled by locked doors near the Sky100 observation deck.
"In March, we want to try to come back and climb the Bank of China Building and the IFC," he added.
Watch: Two men climb the Shanghai Tower, and film it
So far the pair have not heard anything from the city's authorities. However, they say that mainland authorities contacted both Russia and Ukraine with a request to ban the men from visiting China for 20 years.
"Vadim may have some trouble, but Ukraine has too many problems of its own to deal with now, so it should be fine for me," said Raskalov, referring to the deadly clashes between protesters and police in Kiev.
He said they were now looking for sponsors in Hong Kong to stage the first Asia exhibition of photographs and videos from four years of their daredevilry.
"I have been interested in architecture and geography since I was a boy," said Raskalov. "We just want to show people another side of the city."
The story of how they met in Russia seems provident.
"The two of us met four years ago on the Obukhovskiy Bridge in St Petersburg. We climbed on top and became friends," said Raskalov.
When asked if the pair had broken any laws in Hong Kong, a police spokeswoman said it depended on the individual case; no complaints had been filed.