Aussie Feds Celebrate One of Their 'Most High-Profile Arrests'

Extradition fight ends for Tse Chi Lop, dubbed 'Asia's El Chapo'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2022 8:06 AM CST
Aussie Feds Celebrate One of Their 'Most High-Profile Arrests'
Tse Chi Lop is shown in the custody of AFP.   (Australian Federal Police)

Almost two years after his arrest in the Netherlands, the alleged kingpin of a global multibillion-dollar drug operation has arrived in Australia, where he could face life in prison. Tse Chi Lop, dubbed "Asia's El Chapo," is accused of running the crime supersyndicate Sam Gor, also known as The Company, which dominates the illegal drug market across Asia. Authorities in Australia believe it's responsible for as much as 70% of the drugs entering that continent—they've described large quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, and ketamine concealed in packs of tea—which is why they've been hunting the 59-year-old Chinese-born Canadian national for more than a decade, per the BBC.

Tse was arrested at Amsterdam's airport in January 2021 under an Interpol Red Notice as part of Operation Kungur, which involved 20 agencies from Asia, Europe, and North America, per Reuters. He claimed it was an illegal setup by Australian authorities. He said they'd arranged for his expulsion from Taiwan and that instead of being put on a direct flight to his home country of Canada, he was given a stopover in the Netherlands, "where extradition laws are more favorable than much of the world," per CNN. He fought extradition to Australia for months before ending his appeals in November. He was finally extradited Thursday. Australian police released photos showing armed officers escorting the handcuffed man through Melbourne's airport, though his face was blurred.

Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Krissy Barrett said it was "one of the most high-profile arrests in the history of the AFP," per Australia's ABC News. Tse has now been formally charged with conspiracy to traffic commercial quantities of controlled drugs. Authorities allege he conspired to traffic 44 pounds of methamphetamine, with a current street value of up to $4.4 million, into Australia between March 2012 and March 2013. He is to be tried alongside Chinese-British national Chung Chak Lee, 66, who was extradited from Thailand in June. Together, they're accused of conspiring to transport drugs between Sydney and Melbourne, where a raid turned up millions of dollars in cash and a Lamborghini. (Read more drug trafficking stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.