Hong Kong Investment Banking

Rurik JuttingRurik Jutting poses with a friend.A drug-using investment banker has allegedly murdered two prostitutes in Hong Kong. It’s a pretty jarring headline – a real-life American Psycho. But most bankers I know aren’t really all that surprised.

People have been calling him Patrick Bateman. Perhaps he has an alibi and was out returning video tapes. But instead I see Colonel Kurtz. What happens when you take the “Best of the West, ” presumably well-raised, Cambridge-educated, and well-paid, and you throw him into an alternate reality, a world largely without societal restraints and an industry with its set of deviant moral benchmarks? For some people, and maybe for Rurik Jutting, things fall apart.

Hong Kong is a tropical island masquerading as a legitimate city.

To a large extent, expat bankers in Asia can do whatever they want. As an overhang of colonialism, they tend to get treated better than locals. They can start food fights at The Mandarin Grill, flee the scene of a car crash, or take their pants off and run around Lan Kwai Fong. And if they get so out-of-control that they get banned from 3 bars in one night, the cops will just take them home.

Rurik Jutting victimsMany of my Chinese friends will speak English when they make dinner reservations or if they walk into a Gucci store, because even acting like an ABC (American Born Chinese) gets them better treatment.

My sense of reality and entitlement got so warped in Hong Kong that when I would come back to the US to visit family, my mother suggested I walk around Wal-Mart just to re-acclimate myself and “be less of an a-.”

The alleged murderer, Rurik Jutting, lived in the J-Residence building in Wan Chai, one of Hong Kong’s seedier and less prestigious areas. At around US$ 4, 000 a month, the building is popular with young bankers and (poor) expats who like to be close to Central but cant afford to live in the Mid-Levels or on The Peak.

Rurik lived two blocks away from Lockhart Road, the aorta of Hong Kong’s red light district. He couldn’t walk home at night without getting propositioned by street walking freelancers and the pros standing in front of the velvet curtain bars. “You very handsome man” and “Just one drink okay la.”

It’s an entire street filled with bars like Cockeyes, where we once hosted intern drinks (The Princelings loved it), and the now-closed Fenwicks, where we once staked out our regional head of sales, "Dirty Sanchez, " until we caught him walking out at 3am on Tuesday with a love monkey on each arm.

The Telegraph reports that these women were Jutting's victims.Before moving to Asia, I highly doubt Rurik Jutting was ever called handsome by anyone other than his mom. He’s what we call a “Twelve” – the term used in Asia to describe an ugly white guy with a young, attractive, usually paid-for Asian girl. He’s a two and she’s a ten.

It’s also been reported that the police also found a small amount of cocaine in his apartment. Now, I have no idea what kind of person Rurik is, but I do know that investment banking is a culture of pervasive deviance, particularly in Asia.

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