Is fugitive financier Jho Low missing from the INTERPOL Red Notice list?!
Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Jho Low Is Not On INTERPOL Red Notice List!
On 6 October 2022, The Edge Markets posted an article with the title – Jho Low Not On Interpol Red Notice List.
The article went viral because it suggested that the Malaysian government either did not issue the INTERPOL Red Notice, or that the government is not interested in finding Jho Low.
Here is part of the article by The Edge Markets:
KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 6): The name of fugitive financier Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) is not listed on the Interpol Red Notice page, contrary to a statement by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.
A check on the Interpol website in both his family name and country did not yield any results.
When “Malaysia” was searched, there are four names that showed up: Koh Ing Kueh, Umar Sirul Azhar, Tan Lok Seng and Loo Soon Aik.
On Tuesday (Oct 4), Hamzah when replying to a question by Kepong Member of Parliament Lim Lip Eng said that Malaysia will not offer rewards for information leading to Jho Low,
Lim queried if the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) had contacted American journalists Tom Wright and his colleague Bradley Hope, following their claims that Jho Low and his family were spotted in China and Hong Kong in 2018 and 2019.
In his reply to Lim, Hamzah said in the Dewan Rakyat that PDRM was of the view that the Red Notice issued by Interpol was a better avenue than offering rewards as elements of cooperation and definitive information were involved.
He added that this required the 195 member states of Interpol to channel any information to Malaysian authorities to facilitate any extradition process.
Following Hamzah’s response, Wright claimed that no one in the Malaysian Government is trying to find Jho Low.
No Evidence Jho Low Is Not On Interpol Red Notice List
Now, there is no way to know if the Malaysian government is not interested in finding Jho Low, but The Edge Markets appear to have misunderstood the Interpol Red Notice list.
Here is what The Edge Markets and everyone else needs to know about the INTERPOL Red Notice list…
Fact #1 : Red Notice Is Not An International Arrest Warrant
First, let us establish some simple facts about the INTERPOL Red Notice.
The INTERPOL Red Notice is NOT an international arrest warrant, as many might think. It is simply an international wanted persons notice.
The Red Notice is a request to law enforcement agencies across the world to “locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action“.
Hence, the INTERPOL Red Notice only contains two types of information :
- Information to identify the wanted person, such as their name, date of birth, nationality, hair and eye colour, photographs and fingerprints if available.
- Information related to the crime they are wanted for, which can typically be murder, rape, child abuse or armed robbery.
It is important to note that law enforcement authorities in other countries are not compelled to take action on any Red Notice.
It is up to each member country to decide what legal value it gives a Red Notice, and how its law enforcement officers should act on each Red Notice.
Fact #2 : Most INTERPOL Red Notices Are Not Public
INTERPOL operates a public Red Notice list, which currently shows only four names for Malaysia, as The Edge Markets correctly notes.
If you look for people wanted by Malaysia, the public Red Notice list will show 26 individuals, most of whom are foreigners.
What most people (including The Edge Markets) may not realise though is that the vast majority of INTERPOL Red Notices are not public.
As of October 6, 2022, there are approximately 69,270 Red Notices, of which only 7,132 are available for public viewing.
In other words, only about 10% of all INTERPOL Red Notices can be viewed on the public Red Notice list.
The fact that there are only four names from Malaysia does not mean that Jho Low does not currently have an INTERPOL Red Notice.
As INTERPOL points out – the vast majority of Red Notices are restricted to law enforcement use only.
Fact #3 : INTERPOL Makes Red Notices Public For Certain Reasons
INTERPOL only makes some Red Notices public if :
- the public’s help is needed to locate an individual, or
- they pose a threat to public safety
While Jho Low is certainly considered by many to be a criminal of stupendous proportions (pun intended), his crimes were not a threat to life or public safety.
Hence, if Jho Low has an INTERPOL Red Notice, it will not be listed in the public list.
Fact #4 : INTERPOL Does Not Approve All Red Notice Requests
Whenever law enforcement agencies request for a Red Notice, INTERPOL does not immediately issue it.
The request is first checked by a specialised task force to ensure that the Red Notice request complies with INTERPOL rules.
Even if a Red Notice is approved and issued, the task force may re-examine the case, when and if it receives new and relevant information.
Fact #5 : PDRM Says Jho Low Red Notice Issued In 2018
On December 12, 2021, Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani stated that the INTERPOL Red Notice for Jho Low was issued on June 11, 2018.
However, this does not mean that Jho Low still has an INTERPOL Red Notice in 2022, as the requesting country may rescind the request, or new information may compel INTERPOL to drop the Red Notice.
Fact #6 : Jho Low Can Check For His Own INTERPOL Red Notice
Ironically, the only person outside of law enforcement authorities to know if Jho Low has a current INTERPOL Red Notice is Jho Low himself.
Individuals can apply to the Commission for the Control of INTERPOL’s Files (CCF) to check if a Red Notice has been issued against them.
For privacy reasons, other people may not apply to check if Jho Low has a current INTERPOL Red Notice.
Fact #7 : Jho Low Can Challenge His INTERPOL Red Notice
If Jho Low discovers that he has a current INTERPOL Red Notice, he can actually apply to the CCF to dismiss it, by submitting :
- a description of a newly discovered and relevant fact(s), within six months of its discovery; and
- the reasons for which such new fact(s) could have led the Requests Chamber to a different conclusion if known at the time at which the request was being processed.
The CCF will decide on correction / deletion requests within 9 months after becoming admissible, and the INTERPOL General Secretariat will have one month to comment on that decision.
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