By Elizabeth McNamara
A British banker was arrested after the bodies of two women were found in his Hong Kong apartment. Rurik George Caton Jutting, 29, was charged with murder at Hong Kong’s Eastern Magistrates’ Courts.
The police statement reports that on Saturday, Nov. 1, Jutting called the police at 3:42 a.m. to ask that they search his apartment in the Wan Chai district. When interviewed, neighbors reported noticing a strong smell, like rotting fish. When the police arrived, they found a woman’s body in the living room with stab wounds and her throat slashed.
She was identified as 29-year-old Seneng Mujarsi. Shortly thereafter, police found a second woman inside a suitcase on the balcony. The woman has been identified as 23-year-old Sumarti Ningsih, who had died on Oct. 27.
Jutting was a former employee of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and his apartment was located in an affluent neighborhood. Many of the residents in the building are expats working in the financial sector.
The New York Times reported that Jutting’s LinkedIn profile says he studied history and law at the University of Cambridge and had begun working in the London office for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in 2010. He relocated to the Hong Kong office in 2013, but it remains unclear why he recently resigned.
Bloomberg News reported that an automated email response from Jutting’s work email said he was out of the office “indefinitely” and asked that the sender contact someone who was not “an insane psychopath.” It adds, “For escalation please contact God, though suspect the devil will have custody.” The report states that a later attempt to email Jutting’s work account was undeliverable.
The two women are believed to have been sex workers who travelled to Hong Kong looking for better opportunities, like thousands of women from Indonesia and the Philippines.
The family of Sumarti Ningsih spoke to BBC Indonesia, still stunned by the news of her murder. “I ask the government of Indonesia to return my daughter to me,” pleaded her father, Ahmad Kaliman. “She was an Indonesian citizen. Please help return her body as soon as possible.” Her family expressed shock over the circumstances under which she was killed, and added that they wanted the death penalty for Jutting.
The other victim, Seneng Mujarsi, had been using the name Jesse Lorena Ruri while in the Wan Chai district. She had arrived in the city as a domestic worker from Sulawesi Island, and had begun working as a prostitute to send money home to her family.
Rurik Jutting was described by a colleague in Hong Kong as someone who “talked very loud and made loads of money.” On that night of his arrest, he had posted as his Facebook status, “Money DOES buy happiness.” When the bodies were discovered in his apartment, police reported that the place was a mess, and stated discovering sex toys and cocaine. Several days before his arrest, however, his trading licenses had been canceled by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission.
Jutting’s last girlfriend, Ariane Guarin, reports that he had been urging her to come stay with him in Hong Kong. Shocked by the murders, Guarin says Jutting was a kind-hearted, loving boyfriend who was never violent. If they argued, she says, “he would surrender first and act sweet.”
Guarin, who had been trying to get a passport so she could stay with Jutting for a week, now says she feels lucky. “I am really thankful that it wasn’t me.”
At the court hearing, Jutting didn’t enter a plea or seek bail, and told the court that he understood the charges against him.