Send Jho Low home even with no extradition treaty

Dr M says he has not been informed of Jho Low’s arrest officially, but would welcome the detention if it’s true

By P PREM KUMAR & DASHVEENJIT KAUR

Malaysia’s most wanted fugitive Low Taek Jho should be returned to the country, if news of his imminent arrest in China is true, said Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The businessman, who is better known as Jho Low, has been on the run as authorities from Malaysia and Singapore issued alert notices and requests for arrest on site from a few countries.

Jho Low — who is widely believed to have masterminded one of the world’s biggest corporate heists — had been scurrying to find cover in Macau, Hong Kong and China. A news report suggested that he had been arrested in China.

The PM said he has not been informed of Jho Low’s arrest officially, but would welcome the detention if it was true.

“You just told me he may be arrested, but I don’t know so far. All I know is that he is jumping from one place to another place trying to avoid arrest…I hope he has been arrested,” he said.

Dr Mahathir — who will visit Beijing next month — said despite the absence of an extradition treaty between Malaysia and China, it should not stop the Chinese authorities from deporting Jho Low.

“We have no treaty with China, but that does not mean China cannot hand over Jho Low to us,” he said at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

Chinese state media reported that Jho Low had fled to the mainland from Hong Kong, and that he has been detained in the mainland.

Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said an Interpol Red Notice has already been sent out on the elusive businessman.

Jho Low had been on the run following Pakatan Harapan’s May 9 general election victory. The new government had promised to hunt down those involved in the financial scandal which saw about US$4.5 billion (RM18.32 billion) siphoned from state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Malaysia had issued an all-points bulletin to a few countries for Jho Low, who is becoming the country’s most hunted individual.

Jho Low had not been charged for any crime related to 1MDB. Investigation into 1MDB had zigzagged between law enforcement agencies in the US to Europe, and down to neighbouring Singapore.

The flamboyant businessman — who had been pictured with celebrities, models and rich Middle Eastern individuals — is also linked with assets worth billions from apartments and hotels in the US to the US$250 million 91.5m luxury yacht Equanimity.

The Indonesian authorities yesterday boarded the superyacht with 14 cabins in an attempt to seize the vessel after the previous seizure conducted in February had been declared null and void on technical grounds, Malaysiakini reported yesterday.

Jho Low’s passport has also been cancelled by the Malaysian authority. He is believed to be using another passport.

Media reports also speculated earlier that the Penang-born businessman had underwent reconstructive surgery to avoid detection.