Interpol asks China for information on the agency's missing president

07 October, 2018, 05:57 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • A French judicial official says the president of Interpol has been reported missing after travelling to China

Meng's family lost touch with him after he travelled from France, where the police body is based, to China, one week ago.

Interpol has made a formal request to China for information about its missing Chinese president who seemingly vanished on a trip home, citing concerns for his well-being.

The Lyon-based global police agency said it used law enforcement channels to submit its request to China about the status of Meng Hongwei.

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

On Friday, the French police started an investigation after the Meng's wife reported that he was missing, unidentified police officials told Reuters. France has launched its own investigation.

Meng Hongwei, Interpol's president, boarded a plane and arrived in China, according to a French judicial official.

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.

The Chinese effort to track down corrupt officials overseas, known as Operation Fox Hunt, has led to claims in some countries that Chinese law-enforcement agents have been operating covertly on their soil without the approval or consent of local authorities. His family members last heard from him before he left for China on September 29.

In the past, Beijing saw Mr Meng's election to Interpol as a chance to enlist more worldwide help in tracing alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials.


The South China Morning Post quotes a source as saying Mr Meng, 64, was "taken away" for questioning in China.

Beijing has so far said nothing on Meng's case.

The French interior ministry said: "Exchanges with Chinese authorities continue".

Following the appointment, critics suggested that Meng's appointment gave Beijing a chance to enlist more worldwide help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign. The president at Interpol is an elected person for a term of four years who heads the executive committee and is responsible for the supervision of the execution of decisions made by general assembly of Interpol.

Critics of Meng's 2016 election to Interpol's presidency said he would use the position to help China target dissidents overseas under the guise of pursuing corrupt officials.

Al Jazeera's Adrian Brow, reporting from Beijing, said China's silence is a "reflection of how sensitive this case is". His term in Lyon runs until 2020.

Meng has nearly 40 years' experience in criminal justice and policing, and has overseen matters related to legal institutions, narcotics control and counter-terrorism, according to Interpol's website.

At the time, his appointment raised fears among human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International, that he would be used by the Chinese Government to pursue political dissidents who fled the country. "Yellow notices" are issued for missing persons.

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