HONG KONG — A British man accused of slaying two Indonesian women in Hong Kong was described by acquaintances and fellow pub mates as a "bully" who would use his bulky body to push through crowds and help himself to others' drinks. One said he was making enormous amounts of money as a banker and felt pressured to make more.
However, none of them said they saw any sign that Rurik George Caton Jutting would explode in the kind of shocking violence he's now accused of committing.
Jutting, 29, is charged with murdering two young Indonesian women whose bodies were found in his 31st floor luxury apartment, one of them stuffed in a suitcase on his balcony, in a case that has transfixed the Asian financial center.
Allen Youngblood, an American jazz pianist who has lived in Hong Kong since 1992, said he regularly saw Jutting around the bars of Wan Chai, Hong Kong's red light district, where he was known as "Rick."
"He wanted to get two or three girls at the same time," Youngblood said Wednesday while sipping a vodka tonic at the British-themed bar Old China Hand. "He had a lot of money and used it on women. There are a lot of guys around here like that."
Steve Sayell, a British ex-policeman, said he knew Jutting was "under a lot of pressure to make money" after sometimes speaking to him at the bar.
"They need a release," Sayell said of Jutting and other high-salaried foreigners in the neighborhood. "In the old days, you just drank a lot. Now a lot of people are resorting to recreational drugs."
The Filipino bartender, who would only identify herself as Lisa, called Jutting "a normal guy" but also "a bully."
"He was not a very violent person," she said. "But he would always come in here and drink other's people's drinks."
Jutting, who was unshaved and disheveled when he appeared in court Monday, had recently quit his job in structured equity finance and trading for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong. A graduate of Cambridge University, he has yet to enter a plea for the two murder charges against him.
The two slain women appeared to be among the thousands of migrant workers in the wealthy financial hub. About half of the 319,325 migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong are Indonesian and nearly all are women, according to Amnesty International.
Indonesian Consulate official Sam Ayardi identified them as 29-year-old Seneng Mujiasih, who had let her domestic worker visa lapse and ended up "hanging out" in Wan Chai, and 25-year-old Sumarti Ningsih, who came to Hong Kong on a one-month tourist visa that expired Monday.
Like many women in the district's bars, Mujiasih went by an alias — the Filipino-sounding name Jesse Lorena Ruri. Several people remembered Mujiasih on Wednesday as the always smiling Jesse who was quick to start conversations with strangers, especially men.
"She had a very open way, always friendly," said Mira Septyawaniti, a 36-year-old Indonesian who first came to Hong Kong in 1999 as a domestic worker. Now she said she lives with her foreigner boyfriend, a high-tech specialist from the Cayman Islands.
Septyawaniti said the murder has particularly jolted the territory's migrant worker population.
"A lot of people are talking about her now," she said. "We all felt like she was one of us."
Lisa, the bartender, said Mujiasih had another nickname: "Big mouth."
"If you didn't know her, she would come and talk to you," she said. "She had a lot of jokes. She loved meeting people. It is just a sad thing."