Interpol chief missing, France launches an investigation

Meng Hongwei was reported missing by his wife

France has opened an investigation into the disappearance of Meng Hongwei, the Chinese head of the worldwide police agency Interpol.

French police said earlier they had launched a search for Meng after being contacted by his wife, news agencies reported.

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

According to his own page on the site, Meng's last official engagement was on August 23, when he met Lai Chung Han, a second permanent secretary of Singapore.

The president of worldwide police group, Interpol, has allegedly gone missing after he went to China.

"Interpol is aware of media reports in connection with the alleged disappearance of Interpol President Meng Hongwei". He was due to serve until 2020.

Rights groups have previously expressed concern Beijing might try to use Mr Meng's position at the body to go after dissidents overseas.

He has held a variety of positions within China's security establishment, including as a vice minister of public security - the national police force - since 2004.

Meng was appointed head of Interpol in 2016.

The Chinese Government has tried for many years to enlist the help of foreign countries to arrest and deport back to China citizens it accuses of crimes, including corruption and terrorism.

Police in Lyon, France - where Interpol is based - were alerted to Meng's seeming disappearance by his wife, who said she became anxious when he fell out of touch after leaving for a trip to China, according to Le Parisien. In particular, Meng likely dealt extensively with former security chief Zhou Yongkang, who is now serving a life sentence for corruption.

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