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Asia’s Largest Crime Syndicate Boss to Face Trial in Australia

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Asia's Largest Crime Syndicate Boss to Face Trial in Australia

According to police, the alleged boss of Asia’s largest crime syndicate and one of the world’s most wanted men has been extradited to Australia from the Netherlands drug trafficking charges. Canadian born Tse Chi Lop, 59, is suspected of being the leader of Sam Gor, an Asian mega-cartel that is a major global producer and supplier of methamphetamine.

He is scheduled to appear in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to face a charge of “conspiracy to traffic commercial quantities of controlled drugs” after being extradited from the Netherlands.

Tse, dubbed Asia’s “El Chapo” after Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman, faces life in prison if convicted. It was dubbed “one of the most high-profile arrests in Australian history” by police.

The Sam Gor organization, also known as “The Company,” is suspected of laundering billions of dollars in drug money through casinos, hotels, and real estate in Southeast Asia’s Mekong region.

After a decade-long hunt, Tse was apprehended at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in January 2021. He had been named in an Interpol Red Notice.

Asia's Largest Crime Syndicate Boss to Face Trial in Australia

Krissy Barrett, assistant commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, said the arrest came after a “very complex investigation.””We allege that this male is the leader of a large transnational organized crime syndicate,” she explained.

“By definition, these very senior figures within the syndicates obviously stay hands-off in terms of business dealings.” “That’s why it’s such a significant arrest and why it’s taken so long.”

According to Australian police, the charges stem from a specific 2012-2013 operation transferring drugs from Melbourne to Sydney.

Australia’s Federal Police  silent

At the time, a police sting netted 27 people and 20 kilograms of meth with a street value of around US$3 million. A second man was detained after being extradited from Thailand.

“Due to the hard work of investigators and the (Australian Federal Police) international network, these alleged offenders have been charged and will face the justice system in Australia,” Barrett said.

Tse’s lawyers argued that he was illegally transferred to the Netherlands, where extradition laws are more favorable than in much of the rest of the world, as part of a scheme to keep him behind bars for as long as possible.

Asia's Largest Crime Syndicate Boss to Face Trial in Australia

One of Tse’s attorneys, Andre Seebregts, said his client was forced to board the plane to the Netherlands against his will and in violation of Taiwanese law, which required the island’s authorities to deport him to his home country, Canada, unless he agreed otherwise.

According to Seebregts, there was a direct flight to Canada less than an hour before Tse’s plane took off around 1 a.m.

At the time, Australian police declined to comment.

The Asian methamphetamine trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars per year, and Sam Gor, also known as “The Company,” is allegedly its biggest player.

Tse’s arrest, however, has had no effect on the massive drug flow in Southeast Asia. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, a record amount of methamphetamine was seized in 2021, including 1 billion meth tablets, and drug prices remain lower than ever.

Tse has previously faced criminal narcotics charges. In 2000, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import heroin into the United States and received a nine-year prison sentence. He was released in 2006 and moved to Hong Kong before returning to Canada.

Authorities claimed that in 2018, the organization earned between $8 billion and $17.7 billion in illicit proceeds per year.

Source: CNN

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