Crime

Chinese-born Tse arrested for running notorious narcotics cartel

Dutch police swoop at Amsterdam airport after a warrant was issued to detain him by Australia

They have finally tracked down Asia’s most wanted man. Tse Chi Lop, who is allegedly the head of one of the world’s largest drug gangs, has been arrested by police in the Netherlands on a warrant issued by Australia.

Chinese-born Tse is accused of being the mastermind behind a notorious narcotics cartel with a massive slice of the US$70 billion illegal drugs market across Asia.

The 56-year-old has even been compared to the Mexican crime boss Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman because of the scale of his alleged operation.

“He was already on the most wanted list and he was detained based on intelligence we received,” Dutch police spokesman Thomas Aling said, referring to Tse’s arrest at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.

The facts:

  • A Canadian national, he was known for having a personal protection guard of Thai kickboxers.
  • He also used to fly around the world in his own private jet.
  • Media reports claimed that he once lost $66 million in a single night at a Macau casino.
  • Tse is suspected of leading a drugs syndicate that moved tonnes of methamphetamine, heroin and ketamine to at least 12 nations.
  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported his alleged meth revenue in 2018 was at least $8 billion.

What was said: In a major investigation, the Reuters news agency described Tse as being the purported kingpin of “a vast multinational drug trafficking” operation. “The syndicate [was] formed out of an alliance of five of Asia’s triad groups, according to law enforcement officials. Its members call it simply ‘The Company.’ Police, in a nod to one of Tse’s nicknames, have dubbed it Sam Gor, Cantonese for ‘Brother Number Three.’”

Reaction to the news: “The importance of Tse’s arrest can not be underestimated. It’s big and [has] been a long time coming,” Jeremy Douglas, the Regional Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, told the CNN news network.

China Factor comment: Tse has been accused of running a synthetic drug empire in the jungles of Myanmar. The region he allegedly manufactured the illegal drugs on an industrial-scale was ravaged by civil war. What follows next could be the trial of the decade.

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