Interpol asks China for info on agency's missing president

Interpol President Meng Hongwei walks toward the stage to deliver his opening address at the Interpol World congress. — AP

Interpol President Meng Hongwei walks toward the stage to deliver his opening address at the Interpol World congress. — AP

The Lyon-based global police agency said in a brief statement Saturday that it used law enforcement channels to submit its request about the status of Meng Hongwei.

Global criminal police organization (Interpol) has asked China for clarification on the fate of their head of MENA Humvee.

According to a report by the South China Morning Post newspaper, Meng was taken in for questioning by Chinese authorities.

The French interior ministry said it was concerned about unspecified "threats" received by Meng's wife, who has not heard from her husband since September 25. France has launched its own investigation.

Beijing saw Meng's election as a chance to enlist more worldwide help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign.

Meng's wife, who has remained in Lyon with their children according to police sources, was receiving protection, it said.

It was not clear why Meng, 64, who was named Interpol's president two years ago, had travelled to China.

PARIS -Interpol has asked Chinese authorities to provide information on the global police organization's missing president, Meng Hongwei.

He was "taken away" for questioning by the authorities "as soon as he landed in China" last week, the newspaper said, quoting an unidentified source.

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Far from being a Hollywood-style agency with agents toting weapons across the globe, Interpol is low-profile and discrete about its cases, unless it wants to talk.

Interpol links police forces in 192 countries and enables them to work together to fight crime on an worldwide scale. Because Interpol's secretary general is responsible for the day-to-day running of the agency's operations, Meng's absence may have little operational effect.

Earlier this week, actress Fan Bingbing, who disappeared in China in July, emerged with a public apology and a fine of 883 million yuan ($129m; £98.9m) for tax evasion and other offences.

Meng, 64, the first Chinese head of the worldwide law enforcement agency headquartered in France, was "taken away" for questioning by discipline authorities "as soon as he landed in China" last week, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted a source as saying.

China's recently established National Supervisory Commission holds sweeping powers to investigate the country's public servants with few requirements for transparency.

Meng was appointed the head of Interpol in 2016.

In particular, Mr Meng probably dealt extensively with former security chief Zhou Yongkang, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.

Meng was appointed as the chief of Interpol in 2016 which also sparked controversy as it was alleged that China is extending its crackdown on people overseas. His term in Lyon runs until 2020.

It's unclear if he was on official business in China.

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