- Tse Chi Lop, one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, has been arrested in Amsterdam.
- Lop is understood to head an organisation called The Company that dominates Asia’s $US70 billion-a-year drugs trade.
- The 56-year-old has been compared to the Mexican drug baron Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman due to the size of the cartel.
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Lop, a Chinese-born Canadian national, was detained at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on Friday.
Listed as one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, the 56-year-old is understood to be the head of The Company, an organisation that dominates Asia’s $US70 billion-a-year illegal drugs market, according to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
Lop has been compared to the Mexican drug baron Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman due to his alleged cartel size.
Australian police issued a warrant for Lop’s arrest in 2019 as part of Operation Volante, which dismantled a global crime syndicate operating in five countries.
Tse Chi Lop is suspected by police of running a vast drug cartel in Asia that rakes in up to $17 billion a year, drawing comparisons to El Chapo and Pablo Escobar. But unlike the Latin drug lords, little is known about him https://t.co/jK85ltIRVI pic.twitter.com/R3UbgiJznQ
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 14, 2019
According to the AFP, the “syndicate targeted Australia over a number of years” by “importing and distributing large amounts of illicit narcotics, laundering the profits overseas, and living off the wealth obtained from crime.”
It is estimated Lop’s enterprise is responsible for up to 70% of all narcotics entering Australia.
The syndicate’s revenue from methamphetamine sales alone was massive. Reuters, citing the UN, said it trafficked as much as $US17bn worth in 2018.
The AFP said it is now working with Attorney-General Christian Porter’s department to prepare a formal extradition request for Lop.
Lop spent nine years in prison in the US in the 1990s for drug trafficking, said the BBC.
The Sydney Morning Herald described Lop’s arrest as the “most important” made by the AFP in two decades.