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Alleged Drug Lord Dubbed ‘Asia’s El Chapo' Arrested After Two-Year Manhunt

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Alleged Drug Lord Dubbed ‘Asia’s El Chapo' Arrested After Two-Year Manhunt

An alleged drug lord, dubbed Asia's El Chapo, has been arrested following a two-year manhunt.

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Tse Chi Lop, a Chinese-born Canadian national, is accused of being one of the world's biggest meth dealers whose network, known as The Company or Sam Gor Syndicate, is reported to be responsible for up to 70 percent of all drugs entering Australia.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimate that Tse's alleged criminal network pulls in between $10 billion and $23 billion a year.

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Fifty-seven-year-old Tse was sought by cops in Australia and was finally arrested on Friday when he was taken off a plane in the Netherlands and placed into custody when Australian Federal Police issued a request for his arrest via Interpol.

Images from the 2013 investigation by AFP. Credit: Australian Federal Police
Images from the 2013 investigation by AFP. Credit: Australian Federal Police
Credit: Australian Federal Police
Credit: Australian Federal Police

A Dutch police spokesperson said: "He was already on the most-wanted list and he was detained based on intelligence we received."

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Tse now faces extradition to Australia where he faces charges of drug trafficking.

The major operation to catch Tse - named Operation Kungur - involved law enforcement agencies in around 20 countries including Australia, US, China and Thailand.

Speaking to Reuters in 2018, UNOC representative for Southeast Asia and Pacific Jeremy Douglas said: "Tse Chi Lop is in the league of El Chapo or maybe Pablo Escobar.

"The word kingpin often gets thrown around, but there is no doubt it applies here."

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Tse has previously served nine years in prison in the US for drug trafficking charges.

Images from Operation Volante in 2013. Credit: Australian Federal Police
Images from Operation Volante in 2013. Credit: Australian Federal Police
Credit: Australian Federal Police
Credit: Australian Federal Police

In a statement following the arrest the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said: "The AFP issued an arrest warrant for the man in 2019 in connection with AFP-led Operation Volante, which dismantled a global crime syndicate operating in five countries.

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"The syndicate targeted Australia over a number of years, importing and distributing large amounts of illicit narcotics, laundering the profits overseas and living off the wealth obtained from crime.

"In 2013, the AFP announced that Op Volante had resulted in the arrest of 27 people for importing and trafficking substantial quantities of heroin and methamphetamine into Australia.

"The syndicate targeted Australia over a number of years, importing and distributing large amounts of illicit narcotics, laundering the profits overseas and living off the wealth obtained from crime.

"The AFP will work with the Attorney-General's Department to prepare a formal extradition request."

Featured Image Credit: Australian Federal Police

Topics: World News, crime, Australia

Claire Reid
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