A 29-year-old British banker appeared in a Hong Kong court on Monday charged with two counts of murder after police found the bodies of two women in his apartment, including one inside a suitcase on a balcony.
Rurik George Caton Jutting, looking stony-faced and unshaven and wearing a black T-shirt and dark-rimmed glasses, said he understood both charges. The brief hearing was adjourned until Nov. 10, without Jutting entering a plea.
Jutting was arrested in the early hours of Saturday at his apartment in Wan Chai, a central city district known for its vibrant night life.
A charge sheet read out in court said the woman whose body was found in the suitcase had been killed on Oct. 27. The second woman was killed on Nov. 1, the document said, without saying how they were killed.
A spokesman for Bank of America Merrill Lynch told Reuters on Sunday that the U.S. bank had, until recently, an employee with the same name as Jutting's.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch would not give more details nor clarify when Jutting had left the bank. It did not respond to a request for further comment on Monday.
Media described the two victims as prostitutes and said both had neck injuries, adding one was nearly decapitated. One of the women was Indonesian, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported.
The grisly murders have shocked Hong Kong, a city with a low homicide rate.
While one of the victims had been put in the suitcase on the balcony, the other had been found lying inside the apartment with wounds to her neck and buttocks, police have previously said.
Jutting had called police and asked them to investigate the case, police have said.
Britain's Foreign Office in London said on Saturday a British national had been arrested in Hong Kong, without specifying the nature of any suspected crime.
SHOCK IN HONG KONG
A Linkedin account under Jutting's name said he had worked in structured equity finance and trading at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong since July 2013. Before that, he had worked in the same department but in London.
The profile also said Jutting had worked in structured capital markets at Barclays between June 2008 and July 2010 and had studied at Cambridge University.
A spokesman for Barclays in Hong Kong said the bank was not immediately able to confirm if Jutting had worked for them in London.
The apartment where the bodies were found is on the 31st floor in a building popular with financial professionals, where average rents are about HK$30,000 (nearly $4,000) a month.
"It's very shocking because we never expected something like this to happen in Hong Kong, especially in the same building that I'm living in," said banker Mina Liu.
Another woman who lives down the corridor from the flat where the bodies were found said she had seldom seen anyone come and go from the apartment.
Wan Chai has been a popular haunt for foreign navies on rest and recreation over the decades.
There were 14 homicides in Hong Kong, a city of seven million people, between January and June, down from 56 in the same period last year, according to government crime statistics.
In one of Hong Kong's most talked-about killings, the so-called "milkshake murder", a Merrill Lynch banker was clubbed to death in 2003 by his wife, who drugged him beforehand by serving him a milkshake full of sleeping pills.