Chinese Interpol boss goes missing

Interpol President Meng Hongwei has been reported missing after travelling to his native China, a French judicial official said. "France is puzzled about the situation of Interpol's president and concerned about the threats made to his wife".

While Meng is listed on the website of China's Ministry of Public Security as a vice-minister, he lost his seat on its Communist Party Committee - its real decision-making body - in April, the Post reported.

Meng is the first from his country to serve as Interpol's president, a post that is largely symbolic but powerful in status and not without political weight.

Meng was appointed in 2016 as the head of Interpol - an global police agency.

The newspaper said that upon landing a week ago, Meng was "taken away" for questioning by what it said were "discipline authorities".

At the time, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International expressed concerns that Beijing could use Interpol to arrest dissidents and refugees overseas.

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Interpol is the world's largest agency facilitating police cooperation with 192 member countries.

Meng's appointment as president in 2016 - amid Chinese leader Xi Jinping's sweeping anti-corruption drive - alarmed some human rights organizations, fearful it would embolden China to strike out at dissidents and refugees overseas.

News of the investigation into Meng's disappearance came during a weeklong public holiday in China.

Meng's various jobs put him in close contact with Chinese leaders in the security establishment, a sector long synonymous with corruption, opacity and human rights abuses. In particular, Meng likely dealt extensively with former security chief Zhou Yongkang, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.

But Meng said at the time that he was ready to do "everything he could towards the cause of policing in the world".

Xi has been seeking the return of officials and businesspeople accused of fraud and corruption from overseas, sometimes with the help of Interpol in an arrangement human rights advocates say is prone to abuse.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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