Pictured: Chung Chak Lee
An accused drug cartel boss has arrived in Australia in handcuffs and designer thread as he faces charges of importing 40kg worth of meth into the country.
Chung Chak Lee, 66, was extradited from Thailand on Saturday after decades on the Australian Federal Police’s most wanted list.
Police claim he is the right-hand man of The Company, a notorious $23 billion-a-year drug empire.
Lee is considered second to Chi Lop Tse, known as Asia’s El Chapo. He was arrested in Bangkok in October 2020 and spent 18 months in a Thai jail before being extradited to Melbourne on a Singapore Airlines flight.
His arrest is a major blow to the cartel, which imports up to 70 percent of Australia’s meth from Asia and is accused of laundering money through the Crown Casino.
Australian police have spent more than a decade hunting down Lee – working with authorities from as many as 20 nations to monitor and eventually arrest him. He was sixth on Australia’s most wanted list.
The 66-year-old arrived in Australia wearing a black Armani shirt and Balenciaga sunglasses.
Chung Chak Lee, 66, was extradited from Thailand on Saturday after decades on the Australian Federal Police’s most wanted list
It is understood that Lee is second only to Chi Lop Tse, known as Asia’s El Chapo. Lee was arrested in Bangkok in October 2020 and spent 18 months in a Thai jail before being extradited to Melbourne on a Singapore Airlines flight
His arrest was a major blow to the cartel, which imports up to 70 percent of Australia’s ice cream from Asia and has laundered money through Crown Casino
“This is a significant milestone after years of diligent investigative work by AFP and our partners,” Krissy Barrett, Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner for Southern Command, told the Daily Telegraph.
“We will allege that the man is a senior criminal associate of the head of a prolific transnational organized crime syndicate involved in trafficking commercial quantities of border-controlled drugs within Australia and around the world.
“The Australian Federal Police has an international network of partners committed to prosecuting and bringing criminals to justice.
“If you commit a crime, you have nowhere to hide. AFP has the resources and patience to track you down.’
Lee appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Saturday afternoon charged with dealing in a commercial quantity of drugs.
Lee appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Saturday afternoon charged with dealing in a commercial quantity of drugs
The arrest is a major win for Australian detectives working to dismantle the cartel
His legal aid attorney declared a conflict of interest, so the case was postponed to ensure Lee could seek appropriate representation.
The arrest is a major win for Australian detectives working to dismantle the cartel.
In January 2021, Tse was dragged from a plane in the Netherlands after the Australian Federal Police made a request for his arrest through international law enforcement agency Interpol.
A suspected drug lord named “Asia’s El Chapo” Tse Chi Lop (pictured) has been arrested in the Netherlands
Dubbed “Asia’s El Chapo,” the Chinese-born Canadian has been accused of being one of the world’s biggest meth dealers. He was the Australian Federal Police’s number one target.
Tse now faces extradition to Australia, where he could face trial for drug trafficking.
He reportedly oversees an alliance of five Chinese triads that distribute everything from heroin and MDMA to ketamine through their “Golden Triangle” superlabs in Asia.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that Tse’s alleged network rakes in between $10 billion and $23 billion annually from organized crime.
Since 2019, law enforcement agencies from about 20 countries — including the US, Canada, Myanmar, China, Thailand and Japan — have been hunting Mr Tse as part of Operation Kungur.
Finding Tse was complicated by the fact that he mostly lived in the shadows and had a rotating crew of Thai kickboxers as guards.
Despite his low profile, he is also known for his outlandish spending and wild parties. He once gambled $85 million in a single night at a Macau casino, flew on private jets, and threw lavish parties at five-star hotels and resorts.
The Chinese-born Canadian is considered one of the largest meth dealers in the world and is said to be responsible for up to 70 percent of all drugs imported into Australia
WHO IS ASIA’S EL CHAPO?
Born in 1964 in southern China’s Guangdong Province, Chi Lop Tse became a low-ranking member of the Big Circle Triad Gang in his youth.
He moved to Canada in the 1980s.
In 1996, Tse was arrested in the US by the FBI for his role in a drug smuggling operation that imported heroin from Asia’s Golden Triangle.
He served nine years in prison, where he established ties to a notorious 14K Triad boss, Wan Kuok Ko – who goes by the nickname “Broken Tooth”.
Police in as many as 20 countries have accused Tse of being the kingpin of The Company – a coalition of five Chinese triads that trade billions of dollars in drugs each year, including meth, heroin, MDMA and ketamine.
A record 1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine has been seized on Australia’s west coast, with eight men charged. The deal is said to be related to The Company
He owns private jets and once gambled away $85 million in a single night at a Macau casino.
Despite his jet-set lifestyle, the chubby 57-year-old looks more like an office worker than a cartel boss.
Australian Federal Police on Friday issued an INTERPOL Red Notice for his arrest in connection with a series of drug trafficking offenses allegedly committed in Australia.
AFP plans to extradite the indicted drug lord to Australia to stand trial there.
It is believed to be responsible for 70 per cent of all drugs imported into Australia.