Interpol asks China for info on agency's missing president

Interpol asks China for info on agency's missing president

Interpol asks China for info on agency's missing president

Interpol president Meng Hongwei has been detained in China for questioning as part of an investigation against him, a media report said Saturday, a day after he was reported missing in his native country.

"Interpol is aware of media reports in connection with the alleged disappearance of Interpol President Meng Hongwei".

His family have not heard from him since he left Interpol HQ in the French city of Lyon on 25 September.

Critics suggested that Meng's election gave Beijing a chance to enlist more worldwide help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign.

Beijing has remained silent over the mysterious disappearance of Meng Hongwei, who was last seen leaving for China in late September from the Interpol headquarters in Lyon, southeast France, a source close to the enquiry told AFP.

"France is looking into the situation of the President of Interpol and is concerned about the threats his wife has received", the statement said, adding that a "suitable police mechanism" was put in place to guarantee her safety.

French police have opened an investigation into the reported disappearance last week of Meng Hongwei, the Chinese head of the global police organisation Interpol, a source close to the inquiry said.

Mr Meng's case is notable for a few reasons.

But Interpol walks a fine line between its noble mission - facilitating worldwide police co-operation - and the politics and policies of some of its member countries.

China has recently rolled out stiff anti-corruption measures establishing National Supervisory Commission which has powers to investigate public servants.

The president at Interpol is an elected person for a term of four years who heads the executive committee and is responsible for the supervision of the execution of decisions made by general assembly of Interpol.

But Interpol has in the past denied this, saying its head does not intervene in day-to-day operations, which are handled by secretary-general Juergen Stock, a German.

News of the investigation into Mr Meng's disappearance came during a week-long public holiday in China.

Meng's appointment as president in 2016 - amid Chinese leader Xi Jinping's sweeping anti-corruption drive - alarmed some human rights organisations, fearful it would embolden China to strike out at dissidents and refugees overseas. His term as Interpol president runs until 2020.

Meng rose up the ranks of the country's domestic security apparatus when it was under the leadership of Zhou Yongkang, a rival to Xi and the highest-ranking official to be brought down on corruption charges.

Mr Xi has also placed a premium on obtaining the return of officials and businesspeople accused of fraud and corruption from overseas, making Mr Meng's position all the more sensitive.

CNN has contacted Chinese authorities for comment.

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