Asia’s ‘El Chapo’ Who Allegedly Made Over $17 Billion a Year is Arrested in Amsterdam

    A Chinese-born Canadian known as Asia’s “El Chapo” has been arrested in Amsterdam on Friday.

    Tse Chi Lop, 57, reportedly made up to $17.7 billion a year as the alleged leader of Asia’s biggest crime syndicate in history, referred to by its members as “The Company” and by law enforcers as “Sam Gor.” 

    Tse Chi Lop was arrested by Dutch authorities on Jan. 22. Image screenshot via CTV News

    Tse allegedly conducted Sam Gor’s operations in Hong Kong, Macau and Southeast Asia. But it was Australian authorities who issued a warrant for his arrest in 2019.

    It turns out Tse was responsible for 70% of the drugs that reach Australia. “The syndicate targeted Australia over a number of years, importing and distributing large amounts of illicit narcotics, laundering the profits overseas and living off the wealth obtained from crime,” the Australian Federal Police (AFP) said, according to Sky News.

    Sam Gor reportedly funneled tons of methamphetamine, heroin and ketamine to at least a dozen countries. But authorities believe meth was its main business while Tse sold ecstasy on the side.

    Tse’s full name, however, was largely unheard of until Reuters published an investigative article that identified him in 2019. According to the outlet, Tse was the primary target of the AFP-led Operation Kungur, which involved some 20 agencies in Asia, Europe and North America.

    Image screenshot via ABC Australia

    It is unclear how much money Tse has made over the years. Estimates from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) put Sam Gor’s revenue between $8 billion and $17.7 billion per year.

    “The importance of Tse’s arrest can not be underestimated. It’s big and (has) been a long time coming,” said Jeremy Douglas, regional representative of the UNODC in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, according to CNN.

    Dutch authorities arrested Tse at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam while he prepared to board a flight to Canada. Australian officials confirmed on Sunday that he would be extradited to face charges, The New York Times reported.

    This is not the first time Tse has been involved with drugs. In 1998, he was found guilty of importing heroin to the U.S. and served six years in prison.

    Feature Image Screenshots via CTV News (left) and ABC Australia (right)

    Support our Journalism with a Contribution

    Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

    Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

    However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

    We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way.  Thank you for everyone's support. We love you all and can't appreciate you guys enough.

    Support NextShark

    Mastercard, Visa, Amex, Discover, Paypal