A Canadian man called the “Chinese El Chapo” who allegedly ran a meth empire that spanned the planet has been extradited to Australia.
Cops say that Tse Chi Lop, 59, is one of the “most high-profile arrests” ever made by Aussie police.
His extradition from the Netherlands culminates a long-running probe into a man investigators claim is one the planet’s biggest drug kingpins who sat atop its largest organized crime syndicate, known as “The Company.”
According to the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Tse — a mysterious Canadian national — was the syndicate’s Mr. Big.
The Company allegedly attempted to traffic 20 kg of methamphetamine — worth about $4.4 million — between Australia’s two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne. The alleged scheme took place between March 2012 and March 2013.
News.com reports that the gangsters used “money laundering emitters offshore and in Australia” including using the name of a local casino in a bank account to pay for the dope.
“This would be one of the most high-profile arrests in the history of the AFP,” Asst. Commissioner Krissy Barrett told reporters, adding the probe took 10 years.
Tse Chi Lop was in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court charged with conspiracy to traffic commercial quantities of controlled drugs. If convicted, the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.
Dutch cops pinched him at an Amsterdam airport in January 2021 at the behest of Aussie detectives. He had been on route back to Canada’s loving arms.
He had been bitterly fighting the extradition request.
Co-accused, Chung Chak Lee, 66, a Chinese-British dual citizen, has already been charged by the AFP with conspiracy to traffic commercial quantities of controlled drugs.
He was listed as number six on the AFP’s most wanted list and nabbed at his Bangkok apartment in October 2020. He was extradited from Thailand in June.
Tse Chi Lop, 57, was born in China and immigrated to Canada, where he was tutored in gangland economics by Montreal Mafia members.
According to a National Post story by Adrian Humphries, Tse was based in Toronto and still has family here.
The Post reported that his staggering wealth and power kept him out of the headlines while at the same time offering him a jet-set lifestyle.
Tse became something of a far-sighted Lucky Luciano figure in Asian organized crime. Luciano was the mastermind who made American organized crime organized through alliances among mobsters.
Cops say Tse — nicknamed Brother Number Three — allegedly did the same thing when he oversaw the alliance of five triad crime groups in Asia, referred to as The Company by members.
“His arrest is hugely important,” Jeremy Douglas, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, told the Post.
“It is the first time a major crime figure in Asia of his stature has been arrested in decades, if ever, and it signals that it is possible. It is undoubtedly causing a lot of folks to look over their shoulders right now.”
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