Hongza – in Chinese (Cantonese) it simply means “haunted house. “ And in Hong Kong a house that is believed to have evil spirits, a hongza, is considered hard to sell. Enter Ng Goon Lau, a real estate agent with no fear of demonic dwellings. For more than a decade, Ng has braved supernatural residences to buy and sell apartments where there has been a murder or a suicide. He normally pays at least a third less than the market price and later sells at a good profit. How? He avoids catering to locals and sells to foreigners, especially non-Chinese, who aren’t so superstitious.

Hong Kong is so supernaturally-minded that it’s not uncommon for people to leave some of their dinner available for dead ancestors.  In the summer the city hosts a Hungry Ghost Festival when spirits are fed and entertained.  The city’s main English newspaper even hired Buddhist monks to cleanse their offices because someone on staff said they saw a demon in the bathroom.  All this in a city of more than seven million souls, an Asian economic powerhouse.

Houses can be haunted. Demons do sometimes frequent dwellings where acts such as suicide and murder have occurred because such evil deeds grant a spiritually territorial right. The solution is not to sell at a loss or to burn Buddhist incense inside the building. I’ve done hundreds of dwelling exorcisms and expelled the demons haunting there. If the legal occupant breaks the legal right of the demon and asks the Holy Spirit to fill the place, the devil can no longer spook the occupants. What Hong Kong’s hongza’s need is exorcism,  not a real estate price reduction.