PETALING JAYA - Controversial businessman Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, stayed in an upscale Hong Kong apartment for months because Malaysia did not make a formal request to authorities there to arrest him, repor-ted South China Morning Post (SCMP).
The Hong Kong newspaper reported that Low and his entourage were "hiding in plain sight" by occupying multiple rooms at the Pacific Place Apartments there.
A source told SCMP that Low rented several units on the 32nd, 34th and 36th floors of the upscale apartment in Admiralty on Hong Kong Island.
According to several rental websites, a one-bedroom, 1,220 sq ft flat in the building costs an average of HK$84,000 (S$14,517) a month, while a three-bedroom flat of more than 2,650 sq ft goes for HK$230,000 (S$39,751) a month.
Since Saturday, Low was said to have entered Macau.
"Low was in Hong Kong for a couple of months.
"He was staying at an apartment in Pacific Place with his family and entourage. They moved out and travelled to Macau a few days ago. This despite Low being the subject of an Interpol red notice," said the source.
SCMP reported that the reason Hong Kong authorities did nothing to stop Low was because there was no formal request for his arrest.
"Hong Kong police have no obligation to arrest, even if he is on an Interpol red notice," the source said.
"They would only act if there is an accompanying formal request from the originating country, which there wasn't."
A Macau security insider told SCMP that it made sense for Low to pick Macau as a "sanctuary" from possible arrest and extradition.
"Talk that he is or has been spending time in Macau has been circulating for more than a month now.
"I have to say this makes sense because while Malaysia has mutual legal assistance agreements with Hong Kong, they do not have these arrangements with Macau," the source said.
"However, he cannot stay in Macau for more than 30 days, and if he was coming in and out, the government would have kicked him out on his third entry to the city."
Low's only option is to make an asylum request with immigration authorities but Macau has yet to respond to questions about such an application.
He has reportedly been on the move since the 14th General Election on May 9.
According to reports, Low was said to have been waiting for the election results in Phuket, Thailand, where he arrived on the luxury yacht named The Equanimity.
The yacht was seized during a joint operation in Bali, involving the Indonesian police and the United States' FBI.
On Friday, SCMP reported that Low could be applying for asylum in Macau.
Recently, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said that Low, who is wanted for questioning, had given the Malaysian police the slip in Hong Kong and escaped to Macau.
Mohamad Fuzi said Bukit Aman sent a team to Hong Kong to locate him as he was last known to be there.
Besides Bukit Aman, Low is high on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's "wanted list" to assist investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
The Immigration Department also cancelled Low's Malaysian passport effective June 15.
Low also reportedly holds a passport from St Kitts and Nevis.