World

Interpol's President Has Been Missing For More Than A Week

Interpol's President Has Been Missing For More Than A Week

France has opened an investigation into the disappearance of Meng Hongwei, the Chinese head of the worldwide police agency Interpol. First, his wife notified the French authorities after he had only been missing for a few days.

"France is puzzled about the situation of Interpol's president and concerned about the threats made to his wife", the French interior ministry was quoted by BBC as saying. China has made no official comment.

Meng's wife reportedly last heard from him on September 29 while he was traveling to his native China.

The agency "looks forward to an official response from China's authorities to address concerns over the president's well-being", the statement said.

Before taking over at Interpol, Mr Meng was deputy minister in charge of public security in China and is still a senior Communist Party official.

Presidents of Interpol are seconded from their national administrations and remain in their home post while representing the worldwide policing body.

Roderic Broadhurst, a professor of criminology at Australian National University, said Meng's disappearance would be "pretty disconcerting" for people in global bodies that work with China, and could ultimately damage China's efforts to develop cooperative legal assistance measures with other countries.

In a statement, the organisation said it was aware of reports of the "alleged disappearance" of Mr Meng.




Meng was last seen in Lyon, Interpol's home base, late September.

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.

Meng Hongwei's disappearance seems to fit in with a now familiar pattern among China's senior Communist Party officials.

Chinese president Xi Jinping has presided over a popular anti-graft drive since coming to power in 2012 that has punished more than one million officials, with critics comparing it to a political purge.

It was not clear why Meng, 64, who was named Interpol's president two years ago, had travelled to China. But because Interpol's secretary-general is responsible for the day-to-day running of the police agency's operations, Meng's absence may have little operational effect.

His term is expected to run until 2020, according to the company's website.

However, his appointment was an alarming sign of China's ability to shape worldwide organisations, including those in which its authoritarian influence was extremely risky, she said. He earlier served as the vice-minister of public security in China as well as the vice-chairman of the National Narcotics Control Commission and director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office for China, according to the Interpol website. The official in question suddenly drops out of the public eye and an alarm is raised that the person is "missing", usually by members of the public.


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