[Exclusive] 'Jho Low may have had help'

Aliza Shah

KUALA LUMPUR: Fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, or better known as Jho Low, may have had help to evade international law enforcement officials. His movements may have been coordinated by hired experts, using channels already put in place by transnational criminal groups. SEA regional director for the International Association of Counterterrorism and Security Professionals, Centre for Security Studies, Andrin Raj, said there were experts who were well-versed with the channels commonly used by narcotics and weapon smugglers, and human traffickers. Raj shared with the New Straits Times two routes which Low could have taken to flee Macau for Saint Kitts and Nevis, an island nation in the West Indies where Low is said to be a permanent resident after owning properties there. He could have used a combination of water and land routes from Macau and the North Pacific Ocean routes to get to North America and travel downwards on the Ca-ribbean island routes to reach St Kitts and Nevis. Low could also have used Pah-lawan in the Philippines from Macau to get onto the Pacific Ocean routes. South China Morning Post had reported that Low might have fled Macau for China but a Chinese official had denied that the fugitive, wanted in several countries for the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, was in the mainland. “He definitely is not in mainland China. Any claim that he is hiding in the mainland is irresponsible,” the source said. Raj said a fugitive like Low, who would have a substantial amount of money stashed away, would be able to move from one country to the other by bribing his way out. He could have hired an attorney to provide legal advice on how to manipulate law enforcement jurisdictions and seek asylum. “His movements could have been coordinated by experts who know about these channels. He could have paid his way at the border controls,” he said. Low, he said, could also attempt to seek “refuge” in a country which does not subscribe to international laws on extradition. The website of the Library of Congress, the main research arm of the US Congress, named China, Qatar, Taiwan and United Arab Emirates as countries which do not subscribe to extradition laws.

Tan Sri Musa Hassan. (NSTP file pic)

Former inspector-general of police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said while countries should cooperate with one another when an Interpol Red Notice alert was issued, the government should also engage with the countries where Low could be in. Musa suspects that Low, who wants to escape enforcement authorities, may be hiding in international waters. But he would not be able to do this for long as the vessel he boarded will have to anchor near land to refuel. “He can’t be running away forever. That is when we can arrest him. If we know where he is, we can monitor his movements and we must engage with the country where he is at for assistance,” he said. Musa said the government should request to extradite him but his exact location must be known. Interpol said any action a country decided to take in relation to arresting a fugitive was a matter for the national authorities. “Many countries view a Red Notice as the basis for the provisional arrest of an individual, especially if there is an extradition treaty between them,” it said in a reply to NST. It added that St Kitts and Nevis was a member country of Interpol.

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