As British banker Rurik Jutting is found guilty of the murder of two sex workers reporter Ben Rossington visited the notorious red-light district in Hong Kong where they worked. The contrast could not be starker as the grimy neon s of Hong Kong's notorious Wan Chai hong blink away in the shadow of luxury high-rise blocks. The red light district has become a playground for the wealthy foreign men living in that nearby glittering world - and the women selling sex on its streets their mere playthings. Hong Kong has been under Chinese rule since years of British colonialism ended in But instead of the strict prostitution of the district, you find a heady explosion of East meets West.
It is little surprise that British district Rurik Jutting made Wan Chai, where anything goes and women are little more than objects, his regular haunt. As expats stroll down Wan Chai's Lockhart Road, they hear the hong phrase as prostitutes, usually Indonesian or Filipina kong using Western names, prostitution their well-worn routine. And there is no shortage of takers as kong night, affluent workers warm up in the bars of Lan Kwai Fong before moving on to the seedier Wan Chai.
They later head off home or to a hotel with one or more Far Eastern girls on their arms. Among the punters are some of the 20, Brits living on Hong Kong Island - many of them young, single and raking in fortunes in finance or law.
But their lifestyle has been firmly in the spotlight in the wake of the atrocities committed by former Bank of America Merrill Lynch trader Jutting. The year-old, of Chertsey, Surrey, was found killing two prostitutes he picked up in Wan Chai in And his trial revealed horrific details of his cocaine-fuelled depravity - including how he tortured his first victim for three days before slitting her throat.
When news of the killings broke two years ago, the working girls of Lockhart Road started being more cautious.
But as the initial shock faded, business quickly returned to normal and they were more afraid of police checking their out-of-date visas than being butchered. Today, Jutting's name barely gets a reaction in the strip's garish clubs, including the New Makati - where the Cambridge graduate picked up his second victim. The turnover of workers means only the stony-faced madams who patrol the doors were here two years ago.
The women who worked then have been replaced, gone home or been deported.
A young Filipina calling herself Anna said with a smile: "I am not afraid. No one is afraid here.
Why would we be? Her clients, sometimes seven a day, are "all colours of the world", including Brits. She is in it because it pays prostitution, she says, and sends the cash back to her family. Her madam, who chain-smokes and keeps a watchful eye, has a meat cleaver hanging on the wall in case there is any trouble - and her Triad bosses are just a phone call away. Hong Kong's sex trade was cleaned up in after a serial killer murdered three prostitutes in kong hongs days. Prostitution is district if carried out by one woman operating alone. And after Jutting's atrocities, police cracked down on visas, launched nightly raids and closed down venues to make a statement.
Then last year they swept along Wan Chai's main strip, ordering the women to stay out of sight. Now, they pop their he out whenever they hear their hong try to charm a Westerner or spend prostitution a few minutes on the streets at a time. Not all of their best punters are bankers like Jutting but the trade still has a "Wolf of Wall Street" element of excess to it.
Many head to the Far East expecting to live the lifestyle and are even encouraged to do so, with tales of big bank bosses laying on districts for newbies while cocaine and sex are covered by lavish expense s and receipted as "food and drink". Two years later, James Bond author Ian Fleming noted the "25 registered kong where 8, hostesses plied their trade".
But the hedonistic lifestyle is also making flash, unsuspecting party boys targets for West African hookers working out of one of only two Wan Chai bars not under total Triad control. Crime gangs get the traders hooked on deadly crystal meth, sometimes for days at a time, and then squeeze them for cash.
Our source on the strip said: "Every night out here is about booze and drugs, so these l reckon they can handle anything. Or they tell you it's just a little bit of hash to smoke to take the edge off. But on the third day we were a bit worried about my mate. The bouncers on one club said that said they'd heard some working girls had a guy holed up in their flat.
And Jutting has claimed his rampant cocaine use - up to 10 grams a day - began when an African prostitute gave him a dealer's direct. His kong at Hong Kong High Court revealed the three days of torture he inflicted on mum-of-one Sumarti Ningsih, 23, known as Alice, before cutting her throat and stashing her body in a suitcase on the balcony of his 31st-floor apartment.
Five days later, he said, he went out "hunting" for another prostitute to torture for twisted kicks. He killed Seneng Mujiasih, 26, known as Jesse Lorena, shortly after getting her back to his home because she spotted some of the torture implements he had put out ready and fought prostitution.
Despite his conviction this week and the apparent dangers associated with the sex trade in Hong Kong there seems no of the hong diminishing among young British workers who work a long way from home. By Ben Rossington News reporter.
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