The “El Chapo of Asia” he is called. Today, Tse Chi Lop, reportedly one of the largest drug barons in the world, was in a Dutch courtroom. Hes trying to prevent his extradition to Australia.
The Canadian of Chinese descent was arrested at Schiphol Airport in January, when he switched from Taiwan to a flight to Canada. He was arrested at the request of Australia, who has been looking for him for drug trafficking for two years.
Today, the court in Rotterdam bowed over his extradition. Tse Chi Lop, trapped in the extra secure prison in Vught, was present in the courtroom himself. Thats why there were many heavily armed police officers around the building.
The suspect, a graying fifties in a big white shirt, made a short bow to court and spoke in a gentle voice. “I contradict all accusations,” he said.
Billions of Revenue
Australia holds him responsible for smuggling large amounts of crystal meth and therefore wants to prosecute him. Along with many other countries, Australia has been trying to stop the trade in this devastating drug for years.
Tse Chi Lop would lead the Sam Gor Syndicate, a drug organization known as The Company. Its one of the biggest cartels in the world. Under the leadership of Tse Chi Lop, five major crime groups from China and Taiwan would have united. With crystal meth trading, the cartel would convert billions a year. Both the Yakuza in Japan and motorcycle gangs in Australia belong to the syndicates clientele.
Roughly half of all crystal meth in Asia would come from the cartel, but the organization would also make ketamine, smuggle heroin, and provide raw materials for synthetic drugs. A major base of the group is northern Myanmar, where a lot of crystal meth comes from.
Customer friendly but ruthless
Tse Chip Lop itself would have been much in Hong Kong and the gambling paradise of Macau. As with drug barons, the wildest stories are about him. His bodyguards would be Thai kickbockers and as an avid casino visitor he would have gamled 60 million euros once in one night.
His organization is called “customer friendly”; seized drugs would be reimbursed for free by the organization. At the same time, Sam Gor has the reputation of being ruthless; a drug trafficker who wasted a batch of crystal meth was tortured for that reason. A video went around as a warning.
Tse Chi Lop is similar to Mexican drug lord Joaquin El Chapo Guzman or the infamous Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, a United Nations drug expert said earlier. “The word headpiece is used too little and inappropriate, but applies to him without any doubt.”
Tse Chi Lop called that all nonsense today. “Im not the king of a drug cartel,” he said. Hes afraid hell get an unfair trial if hes handed out to Australia. Although the extradition request only contains the smuggling of a few tens of kilos of drugs, he hangs over there for life as the charges are expected to be substantially expanded.
His Dutch lawyer André Seebregts thinks a trick was used to arrest Tse Chi Lop here. The suspect was deported as an unwanted alien Taiwan, but instead of putting him on a direct flight to his home country of Canada, he was sent via the Netherlands so he could be arrested here. This is more legally favourable for Australia.
The Netherlands appeared to have been informed by Australia a week before his deportation that Tse Chi Lop would land at Schiphol Airport. Seebregts said his client should have only been expelled to Canada. Thats why he asked the court to invalidate the extradition.
The court decides in early July if Tse Chi Lop can be extradited to Australia.