Malaysiakini News

Report: Jho Low may have 'changed his face'

Published:  |  Modified:

Business tycoon Low Taek Jho may have undergone facial reconstruction surgery and assumed a new identity to evade arrest after the seizure of his superyacht Equanimity earlier this year.

The Star, quoting an anonymous source, claimed police and immigration departments in Malaysia and Singapore believe Low could have had facial reconstruction surgery.

"We believe he may have altered his features and has assumed an alias," the source is quoted saying.

The authorities also reportedly believe that the Penang-born billionaire, better known as Jho Low, had used special "ground butler services" available for VIPs and celebrities to help him clear immigration checkpoints.

"This explains why despite the Red Notice issued by Interpol, Low has been travelling in and out of a number of Southeast Asian countries without much fuss," the source further said.

According to the report, authorities in both Malaysia and Singapore are not in possession of Low's latest photographs and had made requests for his images captured at immigration checkpoints, to give them a clearer image of the flamboyant playboy.

"Most of the photographs available are believed to have been taken three or four years ago," said the source, who added that since March seizure of the Equanimity by Indonesian authorities in March, Low has been spotted in Phuket, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Shanghai.

The source added: "Despite the Red Notice (from Interpol), the wanted businessperson has managed to elude the authorities."

'From chubby face to oval, diamond-shaped'

The Star also quoted an unnamed Kuala Lumpur-based plastic surgeon who said with the money Low has, an operation to alter his appearance would be small change for him.

"To change a chubby round face to oval or diamond-shaped would cost him between US$10,000 (about RM40,000) and US$20,000 (RM80,000).

"The recovery period is about two weeks, but the patient will endure a swollen face for about a month," said the plastic surgeon.

On the other hand, the doctor said other minor surgeries to alter eyelids and the shape of the nose and mouth could also be done in just a few hours.

Aside from physical changes, the report also quoted another anonymous Bangkok-based security expert who speculated that Low could have also used an airport "butler service" to avoid detection.

"Such passengers are normally taken directly to a private lounge operated by private jet operators as soon as they land.

"Their documents are handed to the pilots or ground handlers. They would sort it out with the immigration officer," he said adding that Low could avoid a direct screening by Immigration officers.

Inspector-general of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun on Wednesday confirmed that Low has left Macau for an unknown destination.

According to Fuzi, police received an email from their Macau counterparts two days ago, which stated that the businessperson in connection with the 1MDB scandal had left the autonomous territory.

On Tuesday, Immigration director-general Mustafar Ali revealed that Low is believed to be using a passport from another country to travel after his Malaysian passport was cancelled last month.

Low’s passport was cancelled by the Immigration Department on June 15 following a request from the MACC in relation to their investigations into the 1MDB scandal.

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