Interpol chief Meng Hongwei vanishes on trip to China

Interpol chief Meng Hongwei vanishes on trip to China

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

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

It was opened after Meng's wife went to police to report her husband missing.

Police sources said their investigation was into what is termed in France a "worrying disappearance", Reuters reports.

Meng, who previously served as China's vice minister of public security, was elected to lead the global police organisation in 2016.

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

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's wife reported Friday that she had not heard from him since the end of September, when he left Lyon.

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The Hong Kong-based newspaper added that it was not clear why he was being investigated by "discipline authorities" or where he was being held.

Its president heads the executive committee, which guides Interpol's priorities and strategy. He was due to serve until 2020.

PHOTO: The entrance hall of Interpol's headquarters in Lyon, France.

Meng used to be Vice Minister of Public Security in China, according to Interpol's website.

A French official said Mr Meng did arrive in China.

An Interpol spokesman says the global law enforcement agency is aware of the Post's story, but would not comment on it or say if Chinese authorities had detained the 64-year-old Meng.

Rights groups have previously expressed concern Beijing might try to use Mr Meng's position at the body to go after dissidents overseas. Beijing has in the past pressed countries to arrest and deport to China citizens it accuses of crimes, from corruption to terrorism.

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