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Hong Kong's Red Light District

Wan Chai – where Rurik Jutting is thought to have picked up £200-a-night prostitutes – is Hong Kong's notorious red light district.

Just two blocks away from his apartment, hundreds of bars and clubs are teeming with mainly south-east Asian sex workers, who offer 'lady drinks' to potential customers before discreetly negotiating prices for sex. The area was made infamous by the 1960 film The World of Suzie Wong, about a Chinese prostitute. It is understood the two women allegedly murdered by Jutting had travelled from their homes in Indonesia to seek a better life - and earn enough money to send back to their families, it is understood.

Sumatra Ningsih, the 25-year-old whose decomposing body was found on the balcony of the apartment which Jutting was renting, had travelled to the former British colony only a month ago from her home in the central Java city of Cilacap. Prostitution is legal in Hong Kong, but many women working as 'freelancers' are doing so illegally as they are there on tourist visas – including Miss Ningsih. The second woman, aged 30, who has been living in Hong Kong for up to eight years, was known as Jesse Lorena Ruri. Officials who take responsibility for foreigners in the colony said that was not her real name. 'Jesse' has told friends that she had earned enough money in her years in Hong Kong to be able to have a house built for herself and her family in Indonesia.

According to a spokesman for Indonesia's Head of Development and Productivity Placement Miss Ningsih had approached a private 'placement company' in Calacap, which found her a job in Hong Kong, although it was not immediately known what that work was. Officials from several welfare and workers' organisations said last night that they were still trying to trace family members of both women who might not be aware of the grisley murders. Referring to the 25-year-old, a spokesman for the Department of Social Welfare and Manpower, said: 'We are trying to trace the address of Miss Ningsih,'

Calacap, a south coast port town lying nearly 200 miles south east of Jakarta, has a population of more than a million and competition for work is said to be intense. It was cut off from air travel when the airport closed several years ago and travellers are now faced with a tedious journey along roads jammed with motor scooters. Tourists are put off from visiting because the town's most well known beaches have become fouled from leakage from shipping vessels that dock nearby.
Despite the authorities' efforts to clean up the area, it is filled with hotel rooms that can be rented by the hour.

One user wrote on the internet: 'The more expensive ones almost seem like normal business hotels – the cheaper ones are like mental hospitals.'
Robberies and money-laundering are also rife and Chinese gangsters are said to run many of the bars.

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