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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Interpol president Meng Hongwei missing in China

The head of the international police body was reported missing during a visit home

Meng Hongwei, president of Interpol, has not been heard from since travelling to China at the end of September. AFP
Meng Hongwei, president of Interpol, has not been heard from since travelling to China at the end of September. AFP

Police in France have opened an investigation into the whereabouts of the president of Interpol after his wife reported that he had gone missing after travelling home to his native China.

Meng Hongwei, 64, left Interpol's headquarters in Lyon, arriving in China last week. His wife has not heard from him since.

It was not clear whether Mr Meng had travelled to China on official business or for personal reasons. His disappearance coincides with a week-long public holiday to mark China's National Day on October 1.

In a statement on Friday, Interpol said that reports of the disappearance of its president were a matter for the relevant authorities in France and China. It also pointed out that the day-to-day running of the 192-member global organisation for police co-operation was handled by its secretary general, not the president.

Mr Meng has served in China as a vice minister for public security, an anti-narcotics official and a director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office. He was elected president of Interpol in November 2016 and his term expires in 2020.

His Interpol appointment raised concerns among rights groups that Mr Meng would use his post to pursue Chinese President Xi Jinping's opponents. Mr Xi has waged a campaign against corruption and has sought the return of suspected officials and businesspeople who fled abroad.

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