Wed, Mar 19, 2008
Man charged in HK sex murders as police hunt second killer

HONG KONG - HONG Kong police on Wednesday charged a 24-year-old man in connection with the murders of three sex workers, as they continued to hunt for the killer of a fourth prostitute.

The man, a Hong Kong resident of Pakistani origin, was due to appear in a magistrate's court later on Wednesday on three counts of murder, police said.

He was arrested over the deaths of three sex workers on Saturday and Monday.

Police said he was however not linked to the murder of a fourth sex worker on Monday as he was not in Hong Kong at the time, RTHK radio reported.

Detectives said they could not rule out the possibility of a copycat killer, it said.

Under Hong Kong law, prostitution is legal if carried out by one woman operating alone in a single location, such as her apartment - the so-called 'one-woman brothel'. Soliciting for sex is illegal.

Organisations representing sex workers have urged the government to amend the law to allow two women to work together for safety.

Hong Kong police have begun visiting all 2,000 one-woman brothels in the city to check no other sex workers had been killed and seek information which could help in the murder investigations, the South China Morning Post reported.

Hong Kong is one of the world's safest major cities, and murders and other violent crimes are rare. The four murders brought the total for the year to 14, according to the Post.

Many of Hong Kong's sex workers are women from mainland China who enter the territory on tourist visas in the hope of making some money. -- AFP

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