Published: Sat, October 06, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Interpol's President Is Reported Missing In China, Prompting Inquiry

Interpol's President Is Reported Missing In China, Prompting Inquiry

Interpol President Meng Hongwei has been reported missing after leaving France for his native China last week.

French police said earlier they had launched a search for Meng after being contacted by his wife, news agencies reported.

The 64-year-old official, who is also a vice-minister at China's Ministry of Public Security, was "taken away" for questioning by discipline authorities "as soon as he landed in China" last week, the person said.

Beijing saw Meng's election as a chance to enlist more global help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign.

He was named president of interpol in 2016.

Rights groups previously said that Beijing could use Meng's position to arrest and deport its critics overseas.

Interpol's president has vanished on a trip home to China.

Meng is the first Chinese national to head the Interpol throughout its 95-year history.

A report from Le Parisien translated by NPR said Meng's wife became anxious when he fell out of touch after arriving in China.

According to Interpol's website, in May he delivered a speech in Ireland in which he discussed the changing face of global crime and the need for Interpol to remain above political considerations. The statement noted that Interpol's secretary general, and not its president, is responsible for the global police agency's operations. He is not believed to have disappeared in France, where the International Criminal Police Organization is based, according to French media, quoting authorities in France.

Despite such statements, rights groups expressed concern that Meng would help further China's agenda of attacking the government's political foes while neutralizing criticism. Mr Xi has waged a campaign against corruption and has sought the return of suspected officials and businesspeople who fled overseas.

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