Interpol president Meng Hongwei vanishes on trip home to China

Missing’ Interpol chief found he is being questioned by the police of China

French investigators have launched a probe into the "alarming" disappearance of Hongwei Meng, the Chinese president of Interpol, French media reported Friday.

Interpol's mandate is to help different countries coordinate policing efforts and notify each other when wanted suspects are detected.

Hongwei, 64, was elected president of Interpol in November 2016.

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

Meng, 64, the first Chinese head of the global law enforcement agency headquartered in France, was "taken away" for questioning by discipline authorities "as soon as he landed in China" last week, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted a source as saying. It is known that in late September, he flew from France to China, but from that time on, no one received any data.

Hongwei's family have not heard from him since September 25, the ministry added, earlier than the September 29 date police sources had previously reported.

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Interpol Asks China for Info on Agency's Missing President
Interpol has issued a statement demanding "clarification" from China after its chief went missing while visiting the country. French authorities say he boarded a plane and arrived in China but his subsequent whereabouts are unknown.

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The French official said Meng did arrive in China.

Mr Meng has served in China as a vice minister for public security, an anti-narcotics official and a director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office.

As of Friday, Meng was still included in the list of leaders on the Chinese public security ministry's website.

The newspaper said that upon landing a week ago, Meng was "taken away" for questioning by what it said were "discipline authorities".

But human rights groups warned of possible abuses. In addition, Interpol noted that the authority does not control the President, and the Secretary General, refusing a new comment. In particular, Meng likely dealt extensively with former security chief Zhou Yongkang, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.

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.

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