Billionaire Jho Low – The Fugitive Neither Singapore Nor Malaysia Interested To Arrest

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Jul 09 2018
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The U.S. Department of Justice acknowledges lawsuits filed to seize assets that it said were the result of US$4.5 billion that was misappropriated from 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd), a fund set up by disgraceful ex-prime minister Najib Razak himself in 2009, represents the largest action brought under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.


Mr. Najib, who was the Chairman of 1MDB, has denied any involvement in the scandal although he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar – a whopping US$681 million in his private banking accounts. Instead, Mr. Najib has claimed that the money was donations from Saudi royal family, a claim that could not be substantiated.


Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, was also exposed to have had purchased a 22-carat pink diamond necklace – worth a stunning US$27.3 million – using money siphoned from 1MDB. According to U.S.-DOJ investigations, Jho Low had arranged for jewellery designer Lorraine Schwartz (also known as “Jewish Queen of Oscar Bling”) for the pink diamond on June 2, 2013.

Jho Low, Prince Turki, Najib Razak, Rosmah Mansor - Yacht

Other 1MDB-linked assets which were reported to have been seized by the U.S.-DOJ so far include Jho Low’s Bombardier Global 5000 jet in Singapore, jewellery worth millions of dollars gifted to celebrities Australian Miranda Kerr, Taiwanese Elvia Hsiao, and several properties in New York, artwork, film rights and a US$107 million interest in EMI Music Publishing.


After his stunning defeat in the 14th general election on May 9th, Najib has since been arrested and charged. However, his 3 (three) criminal breach of trust (CBT) under Section 409 of the Penal Code were in connection with the transfer of RM42 million to his private bank account from former 1MDB subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.


The authorities have yet to charge Najib over 1MDB’s US$681 million (RM2.6 billion) thievery. That’s what his fanatic fans have been whining and bitching – that Najib is innocent. The missing piece of the puzzle is Jho Low (full name: Low Taek Jho). He is believed to be the architect of the heist of the century. The fact that he is still able to evade and humiliate the authorities means he’s a genius.

Jho Low - Money Dropping - TheEdge Siphoning USD700 Million

According to a latest report from South China Morning Post, the fugitive Jho Low and his family were able to slip out of Hong Kong to Macau last week because neither Malaysia nor Singapore formally requested for his arrest. 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.


Renting several units on the 32nd, 34th and 36th floors of Pacific Place Apartments in Admiralty on Hong Kong Island, it would cost Mr. Low HK$84,000 (RM43,267) a month for a 1,220 sq ft one-bedroom apartment while a three-bedroom unit of more than 2,650 sq ft goes for HK$230,000 (RM118,469) a month. To the billionaire fugitive, that was chicken feed though.


According to sources, the Najib’s partner-in-crime was still in Macau as of Saturday (July 7). Prior to moving to Macau, the fugitive was in Hong Kong for a couple of months. Rumours have been circulating that Jho Low has been spending time in Macau, just a 55-minute ferry ride from Hong Kong. And if the plan goes smooth, he may be able to stay there – untouchable.

Fugitive Jho Low - Pacific Place Apartments in Admiralty Hong Kong - Interpol

The Government of the Macau Special Administrative Region allows citizens of specific countries to travel to Macau for tourism or business purposes for periods ranging from 180 days to 14 days without having to obtain a visa. In the case of Malaysian Jho Low, whose passport has been cancelled on June 15, his stay in the city of casino is limited to 30 days.


Currently, Hong Kong has extradition agreements with 18 countries, including Malaysia and Singapore. Strategically, Low’s only option is to make an asylum request with Macau immigration since the world gaming capital has no extradition treaty with Malaysia. However, that option is not entirely true because neither Malaysia nor Singapore is interested to arrest him.


Previously, Malaysian Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohamad Fuzi Harun said that Mr. Low, who is wanted for questioning in relation to 1MDB scandal, had given the Malaysian police the slip in Hong Kong and escaped to Macau. It was suspected that there could be moles inside the police force who had alerted Low. Low also reportedly holds a passport from St Kitts and Nevis.

Mohamad Fuzi Harun - Inspector-General of Police (IGP)

So, the police chief Mr. Fuzi, and his boss Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for that matter, has to urgently answer two immediate questions. First, has the police force, well known as one of the most corrupted institutions, been infiltrated and under Jho Low’s payroll. Second, why wasn’t there a formal request to Hong Kong authorities to arrest Mr. Low?


The source said – “Hong Kong police have no obligation to arrest, even if he is on an Interpol Red Notice.” Hence, in the same breath, Singapore has to answer why didn’t the government of Lee Hsien Loong request formally to arrest Jho Low? Sure, Singapore claims that they had requested Interpol to publish “red notice” on Jho Low as far back as 2016.


Singapore proudly said it does not tolerate the use of its financial system as a refuge or conduit for illicit funds. And the red dot prides itself as a more efficient country than its neighbouring Malaysia. It’s hard to believe that Singapore authorities do not know that on top of Interpol “Red Notice”, they have to also put in a formal request to arrest the fugitive Jho Low.

Najib Razak and Jho Low

In other words, if neither Malaysian nor Singaporean authorities wake up and put in a formal request, Jho Low and his family of crooks can continue playing hide and seek with them, without seeking “sanctuary” in Macau. With his “informants” within the Royal Malaysia Police, Mr. Low will always be one step ahead of the authorities.


However, to be on the safe side, Jho Low should try to become a permanent resident of the Macau SAR although getting one is quite difficult. If successful and based on Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir’s logic of harbouring Islamist extremist preacher Zakir Naik, as long as Jho Low behaves in Macau, he can’t be extradited back to Malaysia for his theft (*grin*).


Like it or not, Jho Low is extremely clever. Macau is a very safe haven for him. Thanks to “one country, two systems”; both Hong Kong and Macau have autonomous police and judicial systems. Fugitive offenders in Macau cannot be extradited to Hong Kong and vice versa simply because even both autonomous territories of China do not have any treaty to do so.

Fugitive Jho Low - Macau - Interpol Red Notice

Heck, going by the rule of law, even Beijing cannot demand Macau to surrender Jho Low if the Macau SAR chooses to protect the Malaysian fugitive. Granting safe passage to Jho Low is considered internal affairs of Macau. Still, it’s mind-boggling why the new government of Mahathir has been so reckless, so much so that it looks like they deliberately refused to bring the notorious fugitive home.


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