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Asia’s most wanted drug lord arrested at Amsterdam airport

Asia’s most wanted drug lord, Chinese-born Canadian national Tse Chi Lop, arrested at Amsterdam airport (IANS)

Police in the Netherlands have arrested Chinese-born Canadian national Tse Chi Lop, who is said to be the head of one of the world's biggest drugs gangs, on a warrant issued by Australia, according to a BBC report on Sunday.

Lop, who is listed as one of the world's most wanted fugitives, is the head of The Company, which dominates a $70 billion illegal drugs market across Asia.

Australian police had reportedly been on Lop’s trail for over 10 years, before he was arrested on Friday at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport while he was catching a flight to Canada. He is now expected to be extradited to Australia to face trial.

According to the Australian Police, The Company, also known as the Sam Gor Syndicate, accounts for close to 70% of all illegal drugs entering the country.

The 56-year-old has been put in the same bracket as the Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in terms of the scale of his notorious underworld business. A police statement said the arrest warrant was issued in 2019, with police in the Netherlands acting on an Interpol notice.

"He was already on the most-wanted list and he was detained based on intelligence we received," a Dutch police spokesman said after the arrest Friday.

The effort to arrest Lop, Operation Kungur, involved about 20 agencies from continents across the globe with Australia taking the lead, according to Reuters.

Lop is reported to have moved between Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan in recent years. He previously spent nine years in prison after being arrested on drug trafficking charges in the US in the 1990s. Australian media described his arrest as the "most important" for the country's federal police in two decades.