Dutch police have acted on an Australian-issued Interpol request to arrest a Canadian man accused of participation in a global crime syndicate.
Chinese-born Canadian national Tse Chi Lop has been listed as one of the world’s most-wanted fugitives and has been compared to Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
He was detained on Friday at the request of Australian Federal Police (AFP), who led an investigation that found his organisation dominates the $70 billion-a-year Asia-Pacific drug trade, Dutch police spokesman Thomas Aling said.
Tse is expected to be extradited after appearing before a judge, Mr Aling said, adding that his arrest by national police took place without incident at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
“He was already on the most-wanted list and he was detained based on intelligence we received,” Aling said.
Dutch police were unable to provide details about the legal proceedings and it was not clear if Tse had a lawyer.
Tse, an ex-convict who formerly lived in Toronto, has moved between Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan in recent years, according to counter-narcotics officers from four countries and documents previously reviewed by Reuters.
The AFP allege the 57-year-old Canadian was involved in a group which imported and distributed large quantities of illicit drugs and laundered the profits overseas.
The syndicate has “been connected with or directly involved in at least 13 cases” of drug trafficking since January 2015.
Some 27 people have already been arrested in connection with the syndicate’s alleged importation of heroin and methamphetamine into Australia.
The AFP said in a statement that the Canadian man was “of significant interest” to both them and counterpart law enforcement agencies overseas.
They will now prepare a formal extradition request from the Netherlands.
“Tse Chi Lop is in the league of El Chapo or maybe Pablo Escobar,” Jeremy Douglas, Southeast Asia and Pacific representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), told Reuters in 2019, referring to Latin America’s most notorious drug lords.
The syndicate he is suspected of running is known to its members as “The Company”.
Law enforcers also refer to it as “SamGor” – or Brother Number Three in Cantonese – after one of Tse’s nicknames, Reuters reported at the time.
It was unable to contact Tse for comment on the report.