A drug lord dubbed 'the Asian El Chapo' has been extradited to Australia and now faces life in prison down under.
Chinese-born Tse Chi Lop, 59, is the alleged kingpin behind Sam Gor, an international crime supersyndicate also known as The Company.
According to The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), his personal share in the organisation was worth between £7billion to £14billion each year.
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Tse was arrested at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on January 22, 2021, during a stopover as he made his way from Taiwan to Canada (where he has citizenship).
His capture was the culmination of Operation Kungur, led by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) who were hunting him for his role in the Asia-Pacific drugs trade.
A Dutch court approved his extradition to Australia in July 2021.
The AFP shared images of Tse arriving in Australia yesterday (Thursday, December 22) handcuffed and surrounded by police.
He also appeared at Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday "to face a charge of conspiracy to traffic commercial quantities of controlled drugs" – for which the maximum penalty is life in prison.
The alleged kingpin was transported to and from the hearing in a military-grade armoured vehicle.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Krissy Barrett said: "We allege the individuals charged by the AFP today and in June this year conspired to traffic commercial quantities of methamphetamine within Australia.
"The hard-work of investigators, and the AFP’s international network, has enabled for these alleged offenders to be charged and face the justice system in Australia."
The AFP estimate that Sam Gor is responsible for 70% of the drugs coming into Australia.
The charges against Tse relate specifically to alleged operations in 2012 and 2013 when a £2.45million load of methamphetamine was trafficked into the country.
Australian police have also said that a 66-year-old British-Chinese national, extradited from Thailand in June, will stand trial alongside Tse as a co-accused.
Jeremy Douglas, UNODC director in Asia, previously compared Tse to infamous South American drug lords Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán and Pablo Escobar.
Sam Gor differs from most South American drug cartels in that it is formed of five different gangs (known as triads) working together.
Their ability to collaborate peacefully, allegedly under Tse's stewardship, has been key to generating billions of pounds in illicit profits.
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