Interpol chief goes 'missing' in China

Oct 08, 2018, 01:24
Interpol chief goes 'missing' in China

French police have opened an investigation into the disappearance of the top official at Interpol, Chinese national Meng Hongwei.

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.

Meng has nearly 40 years' experience in criminal justice and policing, and has overseen matters related to legal institutions, narcotics control and counter-terrorism, according to Interpol's website. The agency added, "This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China".

Interpol President Meng Hongwei has reportedly gone missing.

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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.

Meng is listed on the website of China's Ministry of Public Security as a vice-minister, but lost his seat on its key Communist Party Committee in April, the South China Morning Post reported.

The newspaper said that upon landing a week ago, Meng was "taken away" for questioning by what it said were "discipline authorities". Only at the behest of a country does the information go public via a "red notice", the closest thing to an worldwide arrest warrant.

Interpol has 192 member nations, in an organization that allows police agencies to collaborate and share resources. In the meantime, he served as head and deputy head of branches of the coast guard, all while holding positions at Interpol.

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After his election human rights groups expressed concern that the move could help China pursue political dissidents who have fled the country. He likely dealt extensively with former security chief Zhou Yongkang, now serving a life sentence for corruption.

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.

Mr Meng's wife alerted the French authorities, leading to the opening of the probe, Europe 1 said, without specifying how it had obtained the information.

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