The excesses of 1980s New York investment banking as captured best (and with just a dose of hyperbole) by Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho may be long gone in the US, but they certainly are alive and well in other banking meccas, such as the one place where every financier wants to work these days (thanks to the Chinese government making it rain credit): Hong Kong. It is here that yesterday a 29-year-old British banker, Rurik Jutting, a Cambridge University grad and current Bank of America Merrill Lynch, former Barclays employee, was arrested in connection with the grisly murder of two prostitutes. One of the two victims had been hidden in a suitcase on a balcony, while the other, a foreign woman of between 25 and 30, was found lying inside the apartment with wounds to her neck and buttocks, the police said in a statement.
As Reuters reports, the Hong Kong police said that a 29-year-old foreign man had been detained earlier that day after two women were found dead in an expensive apartment in Wan Chai, a central city district known for its night life.
A spokesman for Bank of America Merrill Lynch told Reuters on Sunday that the U.S. bank had, until recently, an employee bearing the same name as a man Hong Kong media have described as the chief suspect in the double murder case. Bank of America Merrill Lynch would not give more details nor clarify when the person had left the bank.
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.
The details of the crime are straight out of American Psycho 2: the Hong Kong Sequel. One of the murdered women was aged between 25 and 30 and had cut wounds to her neck and buttock, according to a police statement. The second woman’s body, also with neck injuries, was discovered in a suitcase on the apartment’s balcony, the police said. A knife was seized at the scene.
According to the WSJ, the arrested suspect, who called police to the apartment in the early hours of Nov. 1, was until recently a Hong Kong-based employee of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Filings with Hong Kong’s securities regulator show that the suspect was an employee with the bank as recently as Oct. 31.The man had called police in the early hours of Saturday and asked them to investigate the case, police said.
Hong Kong's Apple Daily newspaper said the suspect had taken about 2,000 photographs and some video footage of the victims after the killings including close-ups of their wounds. Local media said the two women were prostitutes.
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.
According to the Telegraph the suspect, who had previously worked at Barclays from 2008 until 2010 before moving to BofA, and specifically its Hong Kong office in July last year, had apparently vanished from his workplace a week ago. It has also been reported that he resigned from his post days before news of the murders emerged.
And as usual in situations like these, the UK's Daily Mail has the granular details. It reports that the British banker arrested on suspicion of a double murder in Hong Kong has been identified as 29-year-old Rurik Jutting.
Mr Jutting, who attended Cambridge University, is being held by police after the bodies of two prostitutes were discovered in his up-market apartment in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Officers found the women, thought to be a 25-year-old from Indonesia and a 30-year-old from the Philippines, after Mr Jutting allegedly called police to the address, which is located near the city's red light district. The naked body of the Filipina victim, who had suffered a series of knife wounds, was found inside the 31st-floor apartment in J Residence - a development of exclusive properties in the city's Wan Chai district that are popular with young expatriate executives.
The second woman was reportedly discovered naked and partially decapitated in a suitcase on the balcony of the apartment. She is believed to have been tied up and to have been left there for around a week.
Sex toys and cocaine were also reportedly found, along with a knife which was seized by officers.
Mr Jutting's phone is today being examined by police in a bid to identify possible further victims, according to the South China Morning Post.
It is understood that photos of the woman who was found in the suitcase, apparently taken after she died, were among roughly 2,000 that officers found on the device.
Mr Jutting attended Winchester College, an independent boys school in Hampshire, before continuing his studies in history and law at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he became secretary of the history society.
He appears to have worked at Barclays in London between 2008 and 2010, when he took a job with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He was moved to the bank's Hong Kong office in July last year.
A spokesman for Bank of America Merrill Lynch confirmed that it had previously employed a man by the same name but would not give more details nor clarify when the person had left the bank.
CCTV footage from the apartment block, located near Hong Kong's red light district, showed the banker and the Filipina woman returning to the 31st floor shortly after midnight local time yesterday.
He allegedly called police to his home at 3.42am, shortly after the woman he was seen with is believed to have been killed.
She was found with two wounds to her neck and her throat had been slashed. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The body on the balcony, wrapped in a carpet and inside a black suitcase, which measured about three feet by 18 inches, was not found by police until eight hours later.
A police source quoted by the South China Morning Post said: ‘She was nearly decapitated and her hands and legs were bound with ropes. ‘She was naked and wrapped in a towel before being stuffed into the suitcase. Her passport was found at the scene.'
Wan Chai, the district where the apartment is located, is known for its bustling nightclub scene of ‘girly bars,’ popular with expatriate men and staffed by sex workers from South East Asia. Police have today been contacting nearby bars in an attempt to find out more about the background of the two murdered women.
One resident in the 40-storey block, where most of the residents are expatriates, said he had noticed an unusual smell in recent days. He told the South China Morning Post that there had been 'a stink in the building like a dead animal'.
And just like that, the worst excesses of the "peak banking" days from 1980, when sadly scense like these were a frequent occurence, are back.
Rurick Jutting, a Cambridge University graduate, has been named as the suspect of the double murder
Government workers remove the body of a woman who was found dead at a flat in Hong Kong's Wan chai district in the early hours of this morning. A British man was been arrested in connection with the murders.
A second victim was found stuffed inside a suitcase on the balcony of the residential flat in Hong Kong
The 40-storey J Residence is reportedly a high-end development favoured by junior expatriate bankers