By Mahmut Atanur
BEIJING (AA) – A British former banker charged with the grisly murders of two Indonesian women in Hong Kong in 2014 pleaded not guilty to murder Monday in a case that has prompted calls for justice from migrant workers groups.
The South China Morning Post reported that the judge warned jury members that they would see “unpleasant photographs” during the trial, which is scheduled to be held until Nov. 11.
Rurik Jutting, 31, pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Jutting was arrested Nov. 1, 2014 when he called police to his flat, where they found Seneng Mujiasih, 29, dead with cuts to her neck and buttocks. On the apartment’s balcony, they discovered the decaying body of Sumarti Ningsih, 25, inside a suitcase, wrapped in a carpet.
A knife was also found at the scene.
A court later found Jutting fit to stand trial following psychiatric tests.
The families of Mujiasih and Ningsih told Anadolu Agency soon after they were murdered that the women had initially emigrated to the international financial center for employment as domestic workers, from where they had been sending money back home.
When selecting the jury, Justice Michael Stuart-Moore warned that jurors would be shown “unpleasant photographs”, and those who said they did not watch “bloody” movies were excused, according to the Post.
The day before the trial opened, Indonesian migrant workers gathered at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay for an hour-long vigil during which they demanded justice and an end to violence against migrant workers, The Standard reported.
It cited a statement by the organizers as saying that Ningsih and Mujiasih had been breadwinners who only wanted “to support their poor families back home and give them a better life".
"In a place touted as one of the safest cities in the world, the twin murders brought Hong Kong, Indonesia and the international community in a state of shock," said the Network of Indonesian Migrant Workers and Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body.
Hong Kong is home to a large community of expatriate bankers who work long hours.
Occasionally, the stressed -- but well-paid -- bankers are involved in grisly crimes.
In one of the most famous cases, the wife of banker Robert Kissel was convicted of killing him in 2013 by bludgeoning him to death with a lead ornament.