Investigation is launched after Chinese head of Interpol goes missing

One source close to the investigation told AFP that the 64-year-old senior Communist Party official did not disappear in France.

French police have launched an investigation into the disappearance of Meng Hongwei, the Chinese head of the worldwide police organisation Interpol, last month, AFP reported Friday.

A 40-year criminal justice veteran, the Interpol General Assembly elected Meng as president in 2016 to serve until 2020.

"France is puzzled about the situation of Interpol's president and concerned about the threats made to his wife", the ministry said. He is the first Chinese citizen to head the body and was previously China's vice minister of public security.

But, Hatton notes, Meng's situation is unusual because his wife reported him missing so quickly.

The Interpol chief left France, where the worldwide police organisation is based, and arrived in China at the end of September, the official added.

The entrance hall of Interpol's headquarters in Lyon central France
The entrance hall of Interpol’s headquarters in Lyon

While Meng is head of the executive committee that oversees Interpol, the agency is run by Secretary General Juergen Stock.

The Hong-Kong based South China Morning Post newspaper reported that Meng was under investigation in China.

Interpol said said it was "aware" of the Meng's alleged disappearance, but that France and China was responsible for the investigation.

In conclusion, Hatton asks, "If [Meng] has really gone missing within the Chinese state apparatus, who did he anger, or what could he have done for Beijing to willingly, and publicly, forfeit the top job at Interpol?".

Some critics also view the campaign as a way for Chinese leader Xi Jinping to purge the party of political foes.

Meng's wife alerted the French authorities, leading to the opening of the probe, Europe 1 radio reported earlier, without specifying how it had obtained the information.



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