Hong Kong police grill British trader of Bank of America Merrill Lynch over double murder

A policeman takes a photo on the balcony of a unit in which two women's bodies were found in a flat at Hong Kong's Wanchai district on Nov 1, 2014. Hong Kong police on Sunday questioned a 29-year-old British man who works for Bank of America Mer
A policeman takes a photo on the balcony of a unit in which two women's bodies were found in a flat at Hong Kong's Wanchai district on Nov 1, 2014. Hong Kong police on Sunday questioned a 29-year-old British man who works for Bank of America Merrill Lynch after the grisly discovery of the two female corpses, including one in a suitcase, in his upmarket apartment. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (AFP) - Hong Kong police on Sunday questioned a 29-year-old British man who works for Bank of America Merrill Lynch after the grisly discovery of two female corpses, including one in a suitcase, in his upmarket apartment.

The women were found dead on the 31st floor of the residential block in the popular expatriate district of Wanchai in the early hours of Saturday morning - when many revellers were out celebrating Halloween.

The body of one of the two victims had been hidden in a suitcase on the balcony, while the other, a foreign woman of between 25 and 30, died from cut wounds shortly after police arrived at the scene, where the man was arrested and a knife found on the premises was seized, police said.

Police said on Sunday that a man remained in custody but had not been charged.

The man, identified as Rurik Jutting in Hong Kong media reports, works for Bank of America Merrill Lynch as a securities trader, a source familiar with the matter said.

The woman found in the living room, described by police as a foreigner aged between 25 and 30, was declared dead at the scene, with the cause thought to be a cut to her throat.

Police were scouring thousands of photographs stored on a mobile phone seized from the suspect, including some showing one of the corpses wrapped in a carpet inside a suitcase on the balcony, the South China Morning Post reported.  

On social network platform LinkedIn, Rurik Jutting is listed as a graduate of Cambridge University. A person by the name posted last week he was embarking on a “new journey”.

“Stepping down from the ledge. Burden lifted; new journey begins. Scared and anxious but also excited. The first step is always the hardest,” said the posting uploaded to Facebook on Monday.

The victims are believed by police to be sex workers of South-east Asian origin, local reports said.

One of the victims was thought to be a 25-year-old Indonesian, the government in Jakarta said, adding that its consulate in Hong Kong was coordinating with the police to identify her.

A resident described the smell that had been emanating from the building as "disgusting".

"It was the smell of a dead body. Maybe the police were moving it," the man, who lived on the 11th floor and refused to give his name, told AFP on Sunday.

Police said the man they were questioning lives in the apartment, and that it was he himself who had called officers to the scene.

- Body in 'travel suitcase' -

Britain's Foreign Office confirmed that a British national had been arrested in the southern Chinese city.

"We are in touch with the local police and stand ready to provide consular assistance," it said.

Briefing reporters late on Saturday, police assistant district commander Wan Siu-hung said: "There was a female that was unconscious, with knife injuries and was naked."

Police then discovered the body of the second woman on the apartment's balcony, he said. "From what we can see it was intentionally hidden because it was put in a travel suitcase," the officer said, adding that maggots were found in the corpse.

"This body belonged to a person who has passed away for quite some time."

Hong Kong, a city of seven million, has low crime rates and only 14 cases of homicide were reported in the first half of the year.

But in recent years the public was gripped by a lurid case dubbed the "Milkshake Murder" in which American housewife Nancy Kissel killed her banker husband.

Kissel, now serving a life sentence, was convicted of drugging her husband - a senior executive at Merrill Lynch - with a sedative-laced strawberry drink before clubbing him to death with a lead ornament at their luxury home in 2003.