Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Alleged Asia drug kingpin arrested in Netherlands after Oz probe



Alleged Asia drug kingpin arrested in Netherlands after Oz probe

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Asia's meth lords emerge from drug crackdowns by raising production and piercing borders with corruption. AFP

Alleged Asia drug kingpin arrested in Netherlands after Oz probe

The alleged ringleader of Asia’s biggest crime syndicate and one of the world’s most wanted men has been arrested in the Netherlands, with Australian authorities pushing for his extradition to face trial.

Police had been chasing alleged drug kingpin Tse Chi Lop, 57, for years until his arrest by Dutch police on January 22 acting on a request from Australia’s federal police.

In a statement on January 24, Australian authorities said a man “of significant interest” to law enforcement agencies had been detained. A police spokeswoman confirmed his name as Tse Chi Lop.

The Chinese-born Canadian citizen has been compared to Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

He has been named by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as the suspected leader of the Asian mega-cartel known as “Sam Gor”, a major producer and supplier of methamphetamines globally.

Sam Gor is believed to launder its billions in drug money through businesses springing up in Southeast Asia’s Mekong region – including casinos, hotels and real estate.

Australia’s federal police said the January 22 arrest followed an operation that in 2012-2013 nabbed 27 people linked to a crime syndicate spanning five countries.

The group was accused of importing “substantial quantities of heroin and methamphetamine” into Australia, long a lucrative market for drug traffickers.

“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 Australian police said.

As part of the 2012-2013 raids across Melbourne, police seized A$9 million (US$7 million) worth of assets, including cash, designer handbags, casino chips and jewellery.

The arrest of Tse Chi Lop almost a decade after that operation’s launch is a major breakthrough for Australian authorities.

The country’s attorney-general will now begin preparing a formal extradition request for the alleged drug lord to face trial.

Most of Asia’s meth comes from “Golden Triangle” border areas between Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and southwest China which are pumping unprecedented quantities of synthetic drugs into global markets.

A study by the UNODC says Southeast Asia’s crime groups are netting more than $60 billion a year.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Preah Sihanouk hit with travel ban

    Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration has announced a temporary travel ban to and from the province, except for ambulances and trucks transporting goods. The announcement came after prime minister Hun Sen called on people in the province to travel only if necessary, and that people not

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • AstraZeneca jabs touch down in Phnom Penh airport

    The first shipment of 324,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/SII vaccine which was provided through the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility was delivered to Phnom Penh International Airport on March 2. The rest of the COVAX provided vaccines will arrive in Cambodia at a later date.

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said