Interpol Asks China for Info on Agency's Missing President

Meng Hongwei head of Interpol declared missing

The statement also added that the secretary general, and not the president, is responsible for the worldwide police agency's daily operations.

Worldwide police agency Interpol has urged China to clarify the status of its president, Meng Hongwei, who has gone missing on a visit to the country.

Meng's wife contacted police in Lyon, the French city where the global police agency is based, after not hearing from him since September 25, and after receiving threats by phone and on social media, France's interior ministry said.

France launched its own investigation on Friday morning, according to the judicial official, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly and asked for anonymity.

French authorities say he boarded a plane and arrived in China but his subsequent whereabouts are unknown.

The missing president of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, has deep ties to China's sprawling domestic security sector, including a lengthy term as vice minister of public security.

Before taking over at Interpol, Meng Hongwei was deputy minister in charge of public security in China.

There have been several cases in recent years of senior Chinese officials vanishing without explanation, only for the government to announce weeks or even months later that they have been put under investigation, often for suspected corruption.

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The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper, has suggested that Mr Meng may have been the latest target of an ongoing campaign against corruption in China. Interpol's secretary-general is responsible for the day-to-day running of the organization.

During Meng's tenure, Interpol issued a red notice for fugitive Chinese billionaire real estate tycoon Guo Wengui, who threatened to reveal corruption at the country's highest levels.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's secretive internal investigation agency, had no announcements about Meng and couldn't be reached for comment, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.

It was not clear why Meng, 64, who has been Interpol's president for two years, had travelled to China. Neither the public security ministry nor the foreign ministry responded to the Post's requests for comment on Friday, and as of Saturday evening there had been no mention of Meng in the state media.

Xi has been seeking the return of officials and businesspeople accused of fraud and corruption from overseas, sometimes with the help of Interpol in an arrangement human rights advocates say is prone to abuse.

Interpol has issued a statement demanding "clarification" from China after its chief went missing while visiting the country.

INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon, France, May 8, 2018. His term as Interpol president runs until 2020.

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