Interpol asks China for status of its missing president

Interpol said Saturday that it has requested notification from China of the status of its missing president.

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Meng Hongwei, 64, was elected president of Interpol in 2016 to serve until 2020. He also serves as a vice minister of public security in China, but he lives in Lyon, France, where Interpol is based, with his wife and children. His family members last heard from him before he left for China on Sept. 29.
“Interpol has requested through official law enforcement channels clarification from China’s authorities on the status of Interpol President Meng Hongwei,” Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said in a statement posted to Twitter. “Interpol’s General Secretariat looks forward to an official response from China’s authorities to address concerns over the President’s well-being.”

Meng’s wife reported him missing to police in Lyon Thursday after she said she hadn’t heard from in in 10 days and had recently received threats, a French Interior Ministry statement said.

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“France is looking into the situation of the President of Interpol and is concerned about the threats his wife has received,” the statement said, adding that a “suitable police mechanism” was put in place to guarantee her safety. The prosecutor’s office in Lyon has also opened an investigation.

A source told the South China Morning Post that Meng was under investigation in China and was “taken away” for questioning by discipline authorities “as soon as he landed in China” last week. The reason for an investigation of him remains unclear.

Meng was the first Chinese official to take the post of the Interpol agency, which facilitates cooperation between 192 law enforcement agencies worldwide, China’s state news agency, Xinhua reported.

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

Meng’s last official engagement, according to his page on China’s Ministry of Public Security’s website, was in August.

He lost his seat on the Communist Party Committee in China in April, South China Morning Post reported.

BySommer Brokaw