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AFP arrests drug kingpin extradited from Thailand

Australian Federal Police (AFP) have extradited a man from Thailand to Melbourne, who they allege was a senior figure in an international organised crime syndicate accused of conspiring to traffic illegal drugs into Australia.

Working with Royal Thai Police, the AFP extradited the 66-year-old man from Bangkok to Melbourne on Saturday.

The AFP confirmed the man was Chinese-British national Chung Chak Lee.

It will be alleged the man was part of a conspiracy to traffic five separate quantities of methamphetamine — or derivatives of the drug — totalling 40kg over a number of months in 2012.

They said he was a senior criminal associate of a transnational drug cartel.

Thai authorities arrested the man in his Bangkok apartment in October 2020, carrying out an arrest warrant based on charges to be laid in Australia.

The dual national appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Saturday afternoon facing a charge of conspiracy to traffic a commercial quantity of a controlled drug of which the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

People wearing Australian Federal Police jackets escort a man in a baseball cap along a passage
The AFP said the extradition and arrest were the result of “persistent work of investigators over several years”.(Australian Federal Police)

AFP Assistant Commissioner Krissy Barrett said his extradition was part of a long-running investigation into a prolific transnational organised crime syndicate.

“The extradition of someone we allege to be high on the pecking order of this serious criminal syndicate is a significant milestone for the AFP,” she said.

“It shows the AFP and its partners remain one step ahead in working tirelessly to keep our community safe.”

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