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British Banker Appears in Hong Kong Court Accused of Killing Two Women

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A British banker charged with murdering two young women in his luxury apartment in Hong Kong, leaving one of the bodies to decompose in a suitcase on the balcony for days, appeared in a local court on Monday.

Rurik George Caton Jutting, a 29-year-old British national, is accused of killing one woman on Oct. 27 and murdering another on Nov. 1, according to court documents. Both women were found dead with cuts to their necks in the banker’s apartment in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong Island.

Jutting, wearing all black and escorted into the courthouse in a police van, did not ask for bail at his brief appearance in court. Martyn Richmond, a duty lawyer representing Jutting, said outside court that his client was cooperating with the police investigation.

“He fully understands the charges against him,” said Richmond.

Police said that Jutting called officers to his 31st-floor apartment in the exclusive J Residence building at about 3:40 a.m. local time on Saturday. Once there, officers found a woman with cut wounds to her “neck and buttock” and pronounced her dead at the scene, according to a police statement.

Outside, on the apartment’s balcony, police later found a suitcase containing a dead woman, with cuts to her neck, who appeared to have been killed days earlier. She was identified in court documents as Sumarti Ningsih. The other victim was not named in court papers. Both women were ages 25 to 30, police said.

The Indonesian consulate in Hong Kong confirmed in a statement on Monday that Sumarti was an Indonesian citizen from the town of Cilacap who had entered Hong Kong on Oct. 4 and had permission to stay until Nov. 3.

Sam Aryadi, a spokesperson for the consulate, tells TIME that the second victim “might also be an Indonesian citizen” and that the consulate is coordinating with the Hong Kong police to learn the victim’s identity.

Jutting, who was arrested at the scene, is identified on his LinkedIn profile as an employee at Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s branch in Hong Kong. Paul Scanlon, a spokesperson for Bank of America, said a person named Rurik Jutting was a former employee but had recently left the firm.

The profile says he joined the Hong Kong branch in 2013, after first working for the banking juggernaut in 2010 in London, where he previously had been employed by Barclays. He is a Cambridge graduate.

The Wan Chai area where Jutting lived is highly diverse. Fashionable restaurants and expensive apartment buildings are found in its southern quarter, but just a block or two north, sex workers from all over Southeast Asia and parts of Africa ply their trade, working on street corners or out of Lockhart Road’s notorious bars and dance clubs.

Sex is for sale — but so is everything from breakfast to ballet classes. On weekend mornings, local families tote their kids to music lessons in nearby commercial towers, expats pony up for hangover-friendly brunches, and women in bikini tops and tiny hot pants prop their elbows on bar counters, waiting for customers at any hour of day or night.

A recent listing for a one-bedroom, 608-sq.-ft. apartment in Jutting’s apartment building asks for $4,900 per month rent. A 350-sq.-ft. apartment goes for around $2,800 per month. The building has 381 units in total and includes a “Sky Clubhouse” with a rooftop heated pool, garden and lounge.

On Oct. 15, Jutting posted to his Facebook profile a photo taken on the balcony where Sumarti’s body was found just over two weeks later.

His most recent Facebook cover photo is a screenshot of a Mail Online headline that proclaims: “Money DOES buy happiness: Growing wealth of Asian nations is making their people happier — but woman are more content than men.”

Jutting’s current profile picture is a screenshot of a Guardian article headline that asks “Is 29 the perfect age?”

Bloomberg News reports that an automated email reply from Jutting’s work account said he was out of the office “indefinitely” and that the inquiry should be sent instead to someone who was not “an insane psychopath.”

Hong Kong’s murder rate is low, relative to other big cities, but occasional high-profile and unusually lurid cases have attracted considerable public interest. In 2003, an American woman, Nancy Kissel, was convicted of killing her husband, a Merril Lynch banker. The case was popularly known as the “milkshake murder,” in reference to Kissel’s use of a spiked milkshake to drug her husband before bludgeoning him to death.

— With reporting by Yenni Kwok / Hong Kong

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Write to Elizabeth Barber / Hong Kong at elizabeth.barber@timeasia.com