French investigate after Interpol chief Meng Hongwei goes missing

05 October, 2018, 17:54 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • POOL New  Reuters               Interpol President Meng Hongwei was reported missing on Friday by his wife

French police have opened an investigation into the reported disappearance last month of Meng Hongwei, the Chinese head of the global police organization Interpol, sources close to the inquiry told European news outlets on Friday.

Meng's wife contacted police in Lyon, the French city where the worldwide police cooperation agency has its headquarters, after not hearing from him since his departure on September 29, police sources said.

He is a senior Communist Party official in China and has formerly served as the deputy head of public security. His wife said there had been no news of him since he made the trip.

Other police sources also confirmed the investigation to the Reuters news agency.

Meng was elected president of Interpol in November 2016.

In a statement, the organization said: "This is a matter for the relevant authorities in France and China". He was due to serve until 2020.

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That would be a stunning reversal for Meng, who was elected to head Interpol two years ago precisely at a moment when China was seeking global help to arrest corrupt officials.

The statement specified that Interpol's secretary general, and not its president, is responsible for the global police agency's operations.

When he was elected, Meng was the first Chinese official to take the post, and it triggered a range of responses. Amnesty International said Meng's rise to the international office was "alarming given China's long-standing practice of trying to use Interpol to arrest dissidents and refugees overseas".

Its president heads the executive committee, which guides Interpol's priorities and strategy.

The Chinese Government has tried for many years to enlist the help of foreign countries to arrest and deport back to China citizens it accuses of crimes, including corruption and terrorism.

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