HONG KONG – A British banker has been charged with killing two women he lured to his luxury apartment from Hong Kong's nightlife district in a murder spree that shocked the normally safe city and brought to mind the 2000 movie "American Psycho."
The suspect, identified as Rurik George Caton Jutting, 29, was charged on Monday with the murders of two women, including an Indonesian whose body was found inside a suitcase on the balcony of the man's upscale apartment, authorities said. The killings have shocked Hong Kong, an Asian financial hub with a reputation as a safe city with a low rate of violent crime.
Jutting appeared briefly at a preliminary hearing, at which he spoke only to confirm that he understood the two murder charges against him.
Police said on the weekend that the 29-year-old had called them to his apartment in Hong Kong's Wan Chai nightlife and red light district at 3:42 a.m. on Saturday. Court documents listed his nationality as British and his occupation as a "Banker of Bank of America." Jutting worked for the bank until recently, Bank of America Merrill Lynch spokesman Paul Scanlon said Sunday.
According to a police statement, officers rushed to the man's apartment, where they found an unconscious woman, aged 25-30, with cuts to her neck and buttock. She was pronounced dead at the scene. While investigating, police found a suitcase on the balcony containing the body of a dead woman who had sustained neck injuries and had died a few days earlier, police said.
A charge sheet said a woman named Sumarti Ningsih was killed Oct. 27, which indicates she was the woman whose body was found in the suitcase. The other woman's name was unknown.
Jutting reportedly resigned from his job a week ago, but an email auto-reply from his job, reported by Bloomberg, signaled something was wrong. It states that Jutting is out of the office "indefinitely," and suggests contacting someone who's not "an insane psychopath."
"For escalation please contact God, though suspect the devil will have custody," the email reply continues. "[Last line only really worked if I had followed through..]."
The Cambridge-educated Jutting's apartment reportedly contained cocaine and sex toys. Indonesian consulate spokeswoman Sam Aryadi confirmed that Sumarti was Indonesian. Eni Lestari, an adviser with the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Hong Kong, indicated that the second woman was also Indonesian.
"We are now trying to locate those victims' families and we're trying to let the families and relatives know about this very sad situation," said Aryadi, who added that records showed Sumarti entered Hong Kong with a tourist visa on Oct. 4 and was given permission to stay until Nov. 3.
"American Psycho," the 1991 book by Bret Easton Ellis that was adopted for the movie starring Christian Bale, portrayed a late-1980s Wall Street banker who moonlighted as a drug-fueled serial killer who brought victims back to his luxury apartment and killed them. In the book, the main character descends deeper into madness, progressing from murder to necrophilia and cannibalism.
During the brief court appearance, the two murder charges were read to Jutting, who was wearing black pants and a black T-shirt with "New York" and "Champions" written on it. When asked if he understood the charges, he said "I do" in a calm voice. He was remanded into custody until Nov. 10.
Police said they seized a knife at the apartment, located in Hong Kong's upscale J Residence building, a 40-story apartment tower.
Jutting had been working in structured equity finance and trading for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong since July 2013 and before that in London for about three years, according to a listing on LinkedIn. Prior to that he worked for Barclays.
Hong Kong, one of Asia's biggest financial hubs, is home to many foreign residents who work as bankers, lawyers, accountants and teachers.
The city hasn't seen such a high-profile case involving a foreign resident since the "Milkshake Murder" case in 2003, in which American expatriate housewife Nancy Kissel was convicted of bludgeoning her high-flying banker husband to death after giving him a strawberry milkshake laced with a sedative. Kissel is serving a life sentence for killing her husband Robert Kissel, who coincidentally also worked at Merrill Lynch, which was later bought by Bank of America.
The Associated Press contributed to this report