A Hong Kong court on Tuesday sentenced a Pakistani man to life imprisonment after convicting him of killing three sex workers in a case that sent fear through the city's prostitute community.
Nadeem Razaq, 24, suffocated three women in as many days during March this year, leaving their bodies in the one-woman brothels in which they worked, police said.
After a seven member jury unanimously convicted Razaq of three counts of murder, Judge Clare-Marie Beeson told him: "You committed a wicked crime and deprived three women of their lives and family."
Hong Kong's high court had heard that the defendant initially told police he had strangled the prostitutes on the instructions of loan sharks in the gaming haven of Macau from whom he had borrowed money.
However, he later withdrew his confession and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
When the three women's bodies were found, Razaq was traced to Macau, where police officers discovered mobile phones belonging to two of his victims.
The body of a fourth murdered prostitute was also discovered in March, but police found no link between Razaq and the killing.
The four cases prompted fears among the sex worker community in Hong Kong, one of the world's safest international cities where murders and other violent crimes are rare.
Under Hong Kong law, prostitution is legal if carried out by one woman operating alone.
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.