Hong Kong murders accused Rurik Jutting remanded in custody

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Media captionRurik Jutting was in handcuffs as he arrived at court - Martin Patience reports

A 29-year-old British man accused of murdering two women in Hong Kong has been remanded in custody.

Rurik Jutting was arrested after police found the victims in his apartment in the Wan Chai area early on Saturday. One of the women died days before her body was found in a suitcase, court papers said.

The women are believed to have been sex workers.

Mr Jutting did not ask for bail and was remanded until 10 November.

He was unshaven and wearing a black T-shirt during the brief court hearing at Eastern Magistrates' Court.

Asked if he understood the charges against him, Mr Jutting, who grew up in Chertsey in Surrey, replied: "I do."

Mr Jutting had resigned from a job at Bank of America Merrill Lynch a week ago. An automatic reply left on his work email read: "I am out of the office. Indefinitely. For urgent enquiries, or indeed any enquiries, please contact someone who is not an insane psychopath."

Before moving to the company, Mr Jutting worked at Barclays in London for two years.

A LinkedIn profile under his name suggested he was a Cambridge University graduate. Winchester College, an independent boarding school in Hampshire, confirmed he had been a student there.

Image caption Cameras surrounded the van as Mr Jutting was driven into the building

Police said Mr Jutting called them to the luxury residential building where he lived at 03:42 on Saturday (19:42 Friday GMT).

One of the victims, named in a court document as Sumarti Ningsih, was found in a suitcase after being killed on 27 October, a charge sheet said. She had sustained neck injuries.

The second woman had wounds to her neck and buttock. She has not been officially named, but was known locally as Jesse.

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Image caption Police, pictured searching Mr Jutting's home, found one of the bodies in a suitcase

Hong Kong Police said they had retrieved a knife from the apartment in the J Residence block, which is situated in an affluent area and is popular with professional people working in the financial sector.

Assistant district commander Wan Siu-hung told reporters Ms Ningsih had been dead "for quite some time".

Speaking about the other dead woman, he said: "We believe the death was caused by a sharp object which cut the throat of the deceased.

"When police found her she was lying in the living room - the room was messy."

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Media captionRurik Jutting appeared in court, subdued and unshaven - Martin Patience reports

BBC Hong Kong correspondent Juliana Liu said the two victims were well known in the Wan Chai entertainment district.

It could now take months or even years for the case to come to conclusion, our correspondent added.

During Monday's 15-minute court appearance, a temporary lawyer assigned to Mr Jutting, Martyn Richmond, complained police had refused to let Mr Jutting contact his lawyer of choice.

Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post reported that police had found a small amount of cocaine in the apartment and that they were examining Mr Jutting's mobile phone.

A resident of the 40-storey block, who said his fellow occupants were mainly expats, told the newspaper: "It was a shock because you would never expect something like this to happen in Hong Kong."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Police retrieved a knife from the apartment during their searches
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The apartment block is in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong

At the scene

By Juliana Liu, BBC Hong Kong correspondent

According to colleagues, British banker Rurik Jutting regularly partied well into the morning hours.

But they have expressed shock that he has been charged with the murder of two women, saying that he had seemed so "normal".

The sex workers of Wan Chai, where Mr Jutting lives, are equally shocked.

While sex work, by definition, comes with risks, it is perceived to be less risky in a relatively safe city like Hong Kong.

Post-mortem examinations are being conducted to determine the causes of the women's deaths.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch has yet to respond to BBC requests for information about Mr Jutting.

Historically Hong Kong has enjoyed a relatively low crime rate. According to the Hong Kong Police website, there have been 14 homicides between January and July, down from 56 over the same time period in 2013.

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