| 6.8°C Dublin

crystal sting 'El Chapo of the East' - Asia's most wanted alleged meth trafficker is arrested

Close

Alleged drug trafficker Tse Chi Lop

Alleged drug trafficker Tse Chi Lop

Alleged drug trafficker Tse Chi Lop

A man said to be one of the world's biggest meth dealers and accused of being responsible of 70 per cent of all narcotics entering Australia has been arrested after a two-year operation. 

Asia's most wanted man, Tse Chi Lop, is a Chinese-born Canadian national who is known as 'El Chapo of the East' in reference to the Mexican cartel boss El Chapo, is one of the world's most notorious gang leaders.

“Tse Chi Lop is in the league of El Chapo or maybe Pablo Escobar,” Jeremy Douglas, Southeast Asia and Pacific representative for United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime told Reuters in 2018.

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

However, he is now facing possible extradition to Australia, after he was hauled off a plane in the Netherlands on Friday following an Australian Federal Police request for his arrest through international law-enforcement agency Interpol.

Tse Chi Lop is accused of sitting atop a multi-billion dollar enterprise called Sam Gor, or ‘The Company,’ which authorities say has thrived during the global pandemic.

“In a sense, the pandemic is an opportunity for them to increase market share,” Douglas said last week.

Authorities say Sam Gor factories are based in areas like the Golden Triangle centred on the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos, and protected by private militias.

“While the world has shifted its attention to COVID-19, all indications are that production and trafficking of synthetic drugs and chemicals continue at record levels in the region,” Douglas said.

Tse Chi Lop, who travelled with a guard of eight Thai kickboxers is alleged to oversee an alliance of five Chinese Triads that distribute everything from heroin and MDMA to ketamine via its 'Golden Triangle' super-labs in Asia.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates Tse's alleged network rakes in between $10 billion and $23 billion a year from organised crime.

Police say the multinational cartel moves drugs throughout Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the US, Europe and other parts of the world. The Company also has links with local criminal groups including Japan's Yakuza and Australian outlaw bikie gangs.

Tse, who has a Canadian passport, travels by private jet and hosts lavish parties at five-star hotels and resorts.

He hangs out with a group of drug traffickers and makers nicknamed the ‘Billionaire’s Club’ but he’s not known to be a drug user.

He keeps a low profile but is also known for his outlandish spending and once gambled away $85million in a single night at a Macau casino.

Tse has been on the Australian Federal Police's radar for about eight years after a major drug bust in Melbourne.

On that occasion police seized 2kg of heroin and meth, $4million in cash, $5million worth of residential properties, $10,000 in jewellery, 99 designer handbags and wallets, a Lamborghini and $600,000 in casino chips.

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission in 2012 described The Company's members as having a “well-established network of contacts across many governments as well as legitimate business and company structures, that enables them to mask and support their criminal activities.”

In December 2017 a record 1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine were seized on the west coast of Australia in December 2017.

Police estimate the drugs seized in the operation have a street value of $1.04 billion.

It was the largest meth bust in Australian history, topping a 903-kilogram seizure in Melbourne earlier that year.

The haul would have been enough to feed the meth appetite of the entire country for two months and is also larger than the total amount of meth used in the city of Perth in a year.

Police alleged that shore parties working for The Company unloaded the drugs from a mothership, 500km off the coast of Western Australia.

Tse is now facing possible extradition to Australia, where he could face trial on charges of drug trafficking.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors


Privacy