Red light district Hong Kong
"If you go with somebody, and you don't know who they are, that's what could happen to you, " said Allen Youngblood, an American jazz pianist who has lived in Hong Kong since 1992. "You roll the dice, and you don't know who's who."
Hong Kong police have charged 29-year-old British banker Rurik George Caton Jutting with two counts of murder in the deaths of 29-year-old Seneng Mujiasih and 25-year-old Sumarti Ningsih. Police found the bodies in Jutting's 31st-floor apartment, Ningsih with stab wounds to the buttock and neck and Mujiasih stuffed into a suitcase left on the balcony, also with cuts to her neck. Police were alerted by Jutting himself, and was waiting for them in his apartment when officers arrived.
On Wednesday, several regulars in a British-themed bar called Old China Hand on Lockhart Road in the heart of the red-light district said they knew Jutting and Mujiasih.
"If you didn't know her, she would come and talk to you, " the bartender said. "She had a lot of jokes. She loved meeting people. It is just a sad thing."
Youngblood called Jutting a bully who used his bulky body to push his way through crowds and drink from other's glasses.
"He wanted to get two or three girls at the same time, " he said while sipping a vodka tonic. "He had a lot of money and used it on women. There are a lot of guys around here like that."
On any given night, scores of foreign men and young, made-up Asian women fill the pubs on Lockhart Road, while outside on the sidewalk, hostesses in cocktail dresses swarm passing Western men, hoping to entice them into booming nightclubs.
That seedy scene long defined Hong Kong to outsiders, even as prostitution became more established in other neighborhoods, said John Carroll, a professor who specializes in the city's history at the University of Hong Kong.
"When they think of Wan Chai, for a lot of people, they think of Suzie Wong, " he said, referring to the fictional Hong Kong prostitute in a 1957 book about the city's sex industry. "But there's much more to Wan Chai."
The neighborhood on Hong Kong island now includes middle-class apartment towers as well as blocks with some of the highest land prices in the world. Even the red-light district has been transforming, with luxury stores and shopping centers moving in and rents shooting up.