Abandoned "paradise" worth $100 billion (7 photos + 1 video)

The Chinese have built a complex of fashionable new buildings in the south of Malaysia. And this resort town on the seashore could have become “a paradise for all mankind,” but it remained empty.

At first glance, this is an ordinary microdistrict with high-rise buildings, villas and asphalt roads. But upon closer inspection, you will notice that an unusual silence reigns in the city, only the birds are chirping.

Only a few hundred people live in numerous skyscrapers. The only signs of life can be found in apartments where the lights are on at night and laundry is hung on the balconies.

The Forest City complex is owned by China's largest developer Country Garden and was built as part of Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative.

The ambitious project started in 2016, with developers investing $100 billion in it to attract foreign buyers.

The idea was to build an eco-friendly resort town with a water park, golf course, offices, bars and restaurants.

Forest City is designed for 1 million residents.

The authorities dreamed that investors would flock to this area, located next to the financial center of Asia, Singapore.

While a house in Singapore costs an average of $4 million, homes in Forest City sell for less.

Although 80% of the apartments were sold, most remained empty after Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad restricted visas to Chinese buyers. In addition, the Chinese government has introduced strict laws prohibiting citizens from spending more than $50,000 abroad.

And the prices for apartments were beyond the means of middle-class Malaysians.

Eight years later, Forest City has become a ghost town next to a crocodile-infested river.

Currently, an apartment in this complex costs about $1.14 million. In the neighboring city of Johor Bahru, housing will cost $141,000.

However, cheap rent, about $800 a month for new apartments, attracts residents.

30-year-old IT specialist Nazmi Hanafia rented a two-room apartment overlooking the sea, but soon regretted his decision.

"To be honest, it's creepy here. I had high hopes for this place, but it was a bad experience. There's nothing to do here. It's lonely here - just you and your thoughts."

The town's shopping center features a restaurant, grocery store and duty free shop.

Joanna Kaur and her husband live on the 28th floor of one of the skyscrapers; they have no neighbors.

She said: "It's a creepy place. Even during the day, when you walk out the door, the hallway is dark. I feel sorry for the people who invested money and bought homes here. We want to move as soon as possible."

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