France opens probe over missing Interpol president

Marsha Scott
October 6, 2018

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

His wife said she hadn't heard from him since he traveled to China on September 29, Reuters reported.

Meng was last seen leaving Interpol's headquarters in Lyon, France, for China in late September, according to Agence France-Presse.

It was not clear whether Mr Meng had travelled to China on official business or for personal reasons.

He was named president of interpol in 2016.

Rights groups have previously expressed concern Beijing might try to use Mr Meng's position at the body to go after dissidents overseas.

He was previously the vice minister of public security in China.

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Interpol said said it was "aware" of the Meng's alleged disappearance, but that France and China was responsible for the investigation.

Meng's wife, who has remained in Lyon with their children according to police sources, was receiving protection, it said, adding: "Exchanges with Chinese authorities continue". The police organization said in its statement "the day-to-day running of Interpol" is carried out by its secretary general, Jurgen Stock.

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

Meng's official biography says he was born in 1953 in the northeastern city of Harbin and graduated with a degree in law from prestigious Peking University.

There was no further word on Meng's schedule in China or what prompted his wife to wait until now to report his absence.

Since Meng continued to hold positions in the security establishment concurrently with his role as Interpol president, that may have placed him under additional pressure. Mr Xi has waged a campaign against corruption and has sought the return of suspected officials and businesspeople who fled overseas.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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