Interpol President Meng Hongwei has been reported missing after leaving France for a trip to his native China, triggering a police investigation and search for the official, who hasn’t been seen since Sept. 29. The South China Morning Post, citing an anonymous source, reports that he was “taken away” by Chinese authorities immediately after he arrived in China. No reason was given for any potential investigation into the official.
Police in Lyon, France — where Interpol is based — were alerted to Meng’s seeming disappearance by his wife, who said she became worried when he fell out of touch after leaving for a trip to China, according to Le Parisien. His wife and children live in Lyon, reports Europe 1.
As of Friday, Meng was still included in the list of leaders on the Chinese public security ministry’s website. But unlike others on that roster, he’s no longer listed as being a member of the agency’s Communist Party Committee – a designation he held as recently as March, according to the Internet Archive.
When he was elected, Meng was the first Chinese official to take the post, and it triggered a range of responses.
China Daily emphasized the potential boost to China’s recent clampdown on corruption, noting that China had increasingly worked with Interpol to pursue “China’s 100 most-wanted fugitives suspected of corruption.”
But human rights groups warned of possible abuses. Amnesty International said Meng’s rise to the international office was “alarming given China’s long-standing practice of trying to use Interpol to arrest dissidents and refugees abroad.”
Interpol has 192 member nations, in an organization that allows police agencies to collaborate and share resources. Its president heads the executive committee, which guides Interpol’s priorities and strategy. Interpol’s day-to-day operations are overseen by its secretary-general. (NPR.org)