Reports: Jho Low stayed in Hong Kong for months as Malaysia did not request his arrest

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 08 Jul 2018

PETALING JAYA: Controversial businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, stayed in an upscale Hong Kong apartment for months because Malaysia did not make a formal request to authorities there to arrest him, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The Hong Kong newspaper reported that Low and his entourage were "hiding in plain sight" by occupying multiple rooms at the upscale Pacific Place Apartments there.

A source told SCMP said Low rented several units on the 32nd, 34th and 36th floors of Pacific Place Apartments in Admiralty on Hong Kong Island.

According to several rental websites, a one-bedroom, 1,220 sq ft flat in the building costs an average of HK$84,000 (RM43,236) a month, while a three-bedroom flat of more than 2,650 sq ft goes for HK$230,000 (RM118,385) a month.

As of Saturday (July 7), the source said that Low is now in Macau.

"Jho was in Hong Kong for a couple of months," said the source.

"He was staying at an apartment in Pacific Place with his family and entourage. They moved out of Pacific Place and travelled to Macau a few days ago, despite Low being the subject of an Interpol Red Notice."

SCMP reported that the reason Hong Kong authorities did nothing to stop Low – despite the Red Notice – was because there was no formal request for his arrest from Malaysia.

"Hong Kong police have no obligation to arrest, even if he is on an Interpol Red Notice," the source said.

"The only obligation is if there is an accompanying formal request from the originating country, which there wasn't."

A Macau security insider told SCMP that it made sense for Low to pick Macau as a "sanctuary" from possible arrest and extradition.

"Rumours that he is or has been spending time in Macau have been circulating for more than a month now, and I have to say this makes sense because, while Malaysia has mutual legal assistance agreements with Hong Kong, they do not have these arrangements with Macau," the source said.

"However, he cannot stay in Macau for more than 30 days, and if he was coming in and out, the government would have kicked him out on his third entry to the city."

Low's only option is to make an asylum request with immigration authorities but authorities in Macau have yet to respond to questions about such an application.

Low has reportedly been on the move since the 14th General Election on May 9. He was said to have been waiting out the election results in Phuket, Thailand, where he arrived on the luxury yacht named 'The Equanimity'.

The yacht was seized during a joint operation in Bali involving the Indonesian police and the United States' FBI.

On Friday (July 6), SCMP reported that if Low was indeed in Macau, he could be applying for asylum. On Saturday night, it was understood that the businessman and his family were still in the city.

Previously, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said that Low, who is wanted for questioning, had given the Malaysian police the slip in Hong Kong and escaped to Macau.

Mohamad Fuzi said Bukit Aman sent a team to Hong Kong to locate Low as he was last known to be there.

Besides Bukit Aman, Low is high on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's "wanted list" to assist investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The Immigration Department cancelled Low's Malaysian passport effective June 15.

Besides a Malaysian passport, Low also reportedly holds a passport from St Kitts and Nevis.

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