AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - A Canadian man, one of the world's most wanted fugitives, has been arrested by the Central Unit of the National Police of the Netherlands on Friday acting on an INTERPOL Red Diffusion issued by the Australian Federal Police (AFP).
The man, Tse Chi Lop, 57, a Canadian national is of significant interest to the AFP and other law enforcement agencies.
Lop, reportedly a billionaire is estimated to be responsible for the importation of more than two-thirds of illegal drugs into Australia. He has been described as Asia's El Chapo.
Lop, who was born in Guangdong Province in Southern China, but migrated to Canada in the 1980s, boarded a flight for Canada in Taipei on Friday, but was arrested when the plane stopped over in Amsterdam at the city's Schiphol Airport.
"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 the Reuters Thomson news agency in 2019, referring to Latin America's most notorious drug lords.
"The importance of Tse's arrest can not be underestimated. It's big and (has) been a long time coming," Douglas said Sunday,
The syndicate he is suspected of running is known to its members as "The Company." Law enforcers also refer to it as "Sam Gor" - or Brother Number Three in Cantonese - after one of Tse's nicknames, Reuters reported at the time.The AFP issued an arrest warrant for the man last year in connection with AFP-led Operation Volante, which dismantled a global crime syndicate operating in five countries.
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.
In 2013, the AFP announced that Operation Volante had resulted in the arrest of 27 people for importing and trafficking substantial quantities of heroin and methamphetamine into Australia.
The AFP says it will work with the Attorney-General's Department to prepare a formal extradition request, accordign to a statement released on Sunday.
The AFP said no further comment would be made at this time.