Several years ago, 'King' (not his real name) was treated like a prince. As the guard of a top politician of the Democratic Republic of Congo, he enjoyed more comforts and privileges than most. Then one night local rebels forced their way into power, turning King and his family into targets of violence overnight. He fled the country with the help of a protection agency and unexpectedly found himself in Hong Kong. Now King experiences a different sort of persecution: racism. 'Hong Kong people are so racist against blacks. They think we're dangerous and evil.' King says he and fellow African asylum-seekers are kicked out of restaurants, bars and shops just for being black. On the MTR, he notices some people get up as soon as he sits next to them. 'I've been to many countries and Hong Kong is by far the most racist,' King says. 'Not just towards black people, there's even discrimination towards mainland people. Why? They're our neighbours!' But King finds hope in the younger generation, who he says 'are really curious about us'. This is why he and other African asylum-seekers accept invitations from local schools to give talks about their culture. 'We do this for free of course,' he says. 'We are very happy to share our culture with people here. Many have never seen a black person in their lives.' He sometimes plays African drums with his friends at events, also for free. King doesn't only sense racism in people on the street, but from the law as well. Despite the fact that thousands of asylum seekers enter Hong Kong each year, the government refuses to grant them any sort of legal protection. The city lacks a framework, adopted by many developed countries, to turn asylum seekers into refugees, a status that grants them protection and rights outlined by the United Nations. This means asylum seekers in Hong Kong cannot live or work here legally. Instead, they must rely on non-profit organisations and churches to provide food, medical help and accommodation. 'We asylum seekers . . . just want to be somewhere safer,' King says. He says, after living in Hong Kong for four years, he has stopped caring about what others think of him. 'I know I'm a human being, at least.'