There is plenty of speculation in the media over the whereabouts of fugitive financier Jho Low, with the Malaysian inspector general saying he could resort to “unorthodox methods” to get him back.
Low Taek Jho, commonly known as Jho Low, is wanted by Malaysian authorities in connection with financial fraud. Following recent revelations that the fugitive financier had obtained Cypriot citizenship in 2015, officials in the Republic of Cyprus have started a denaturalization process for over two dozen investors who had received the island’s passport in what is known as a gold visa.
Last year, in May 2018, an international alert was issued for Low’s arrest. The following month, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as well as his close advisor told reporters that they did not have extradition arrangements in the country in which the fugitive financier was believed to be hiding.
But the country was not named.
On Wednesday, Cyprus police spokesperson Christos Andreou said state authorities realised in September 2018 that Low was a wanted person by Malaysian authorities based on an Interpol database. An arrest warrant was issued later that year.
Abdul Hamid stopped short of saying he believed Low was in Cyprus, adding that the financier was still seeking refuge in an unnamed country where he was protected by certain powerful people
But the alert was said to have been not usable as the Republic of Cyprus had not signed an extradition agreement with that country, while Andreou confirmed that Low’s name was then placed on a stop list and other state agencies were also alerted.
Andreou also said he believed the financier must have departed Cyprus for the last time in 2015, based on information available to police.
Low was also said to be holding a passport from St. Kitts and Nevis, while foreign media reported that he was not thought to have ever entered the island state in the West Indies.
Unconfirmed reports had suggested that Jho Low may have undergone plastic surgery to change his physical appearance while recent reports said he may have been using a different name to buy more property in Cyprus.
Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said several individuals who were arrested during anti-money laundering operations had divulged information on Low.
“From these arrests, we have deconstructed and obtained information that Jho Low was attempting to purchase properties under a different alias in Cyprus,” he said according to daily MalaysiaKini.
But Abdul Hamid stopped short of saying he believed Low was in Cyprus, adding that the financier was still seeking refuge in an unnamed country where he was protected by certain powerful people.
The Star Online reported that the Inspector-General responded to calls to use “Mossad strategies” to capture Low, with Abdul Hamid reportedly stopping short of endorsing Israeli intelligence type of strategies while also saying he was employing semi-official channels.
So far media outlets reported that Jho Low was thought to have been hiding in China and later in the United Arab Emirates, based on speculation.
“I have said before, it is impossible for him to leave the country he is hiding in with ease. He is still there hiding, like a chicken,” the Malaysian official said.
Memes also flooded the internet with photos of Low's face attached to a bear's body, ridiculing reports that said the fugivitve might "look like a bear" by now.