Interpol chief missing: French police launch investigation into President Meng Hongwei's disappearance

Meng Hongwei, 64, has not been heard from since travelling to China in late September

Chris Baynes
Friday 05 October 2018 12:10 BST
Interpol chief Meng Hongwei missing

French police have launched an investigation into the disappearance of Interpol‘s president.

Meng Hongwei, a Chinese government minister, was reported missing after travelling to his native country last week.

The 64-year-old lives in Lyon with his wife and children, who have not heard from him since he left for China on 29 September, according to reports.

French police sources told Reuters and radio station Europe 1 that Mr Meng’s family had been unable to contact him or locate his whereabouts.

Mr Meng was elected president of Interpol, which helps global police forces co-operate on investigations, in November 2016.

He is also China’s deputy minister of public security, and has previously served as head of the country’s counter-terrorism office, drugs control commission, and coast guard.

His term as Interpol’s chief is due to run until 2020.

In a statement, the organisation said: “Interpol is aware of media reports in connection with the alleged disappearance of Interpol president Meng Hongwei.

“This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China.”

Interpol said secretary-general Jurgen Stock, rather than Mr Meng, was the “full-time official responsible for the day-to-day running” of the organisation.

It added: “Interpol’s General Secretariat headquarters will not comment further.”

Human rights campaigners expressed alarm over Mr Meng’s close links to the Chinese government when he took up the presidency two years ago.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch voiced fears China could look to exploit his position to pursue dissidents abroad.

Interpol has not yet responded to a request for comment on Mr Meng’s reported disappearance.

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