Chinese Gov’t refutes suspicions that fugitive Jho Low is hiding in Macau

[Updated to include a statement by the Macau Office of the Secretary for Security on the case]

The Chinese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has refuted statements by Malaysian police authorities that fugitive financier Jho Low is hiding in Macau, news agency Reuters reported.

Low is being hunted by Malaysian authorities over his role in the theft of billions looted from sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), with Malaysian police chief Abdul Hamid Bador alleging on Wednesday that he was hiding in the Macau SAR.

“He is there with all the filthy money,” Malaysian police chief Abdul Hamid Bador stated to AFP in a text message.

Asked why he had chosen to reveal Low’s location now, the police chief said allegations had been made that officers were “purposely slowing down on the effort to bring him to justice”.

In a statement Chinese authorities rejected the accusations as “groundless and unacceptable” and that the ‘position of the Chinese government on combating crime is consistent and clear-cut”

“China does not and will never shelter foreign criminals,” the embassy indicated in the statement Reuters reported

The embassy added that China would continue to give support and assistance to Malaysia in its investigations.

Macau authorities said in 2018 they had received a request through INTERPOL from the Malaysian government but denied he was in the SAR, with the local Judiciary Police having indicated to Macau News Agency that no request had been sent since then by the Southeast Asian country’s authorities.

In a statement today the Office of the Secretary of Security Wong Sio Chak also refuted the statements by Malaysian authorities.

‘The Malaysian Police, contrary to the rules and practices in the scope of international police cooperation, unilaterally disclosed that [Jho Low] is in Macau, information that does not correspond to the truth,’ the Office indicated.

Charged in both Malaysia and the United States over the 1MDB scandal, Low has been accused by Najib’s lawyers of being the mastermind behind the scam and tricking the former premier.

Najib, who founded 1MDB, was on Tuesday sentenced to 12 years in jail and fined almost US$50 million on corruption charges relating to the scandal, which contributed to the downfall of his government in 2018.

The former leader is still to face the conclusion of a second trial that began in August last year centred on allegations he illicitly obtained more than US$500 million.