Interpol Seeks Info on Its Missing Chief From China

Meng Hongwei president of Interpol

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.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to a request for comment from AFP.

Eventually, the party issues a terse statement that the official is "under investigation", the official is then booted from the party for "disciplinary infractions" and - eventually - a prison sentence is announced.

Meng Hongwei's disappearance seems to fit in with a now familiar pattern among China's senior Communist Party officials.

Diplomats say the role of Interpol president is largely ceremonial, with day-to-day work carried out by its secretary general, Juergen Stock, and his staff.

The 64-year-old served as vice minister of Public Security in China, vice chairman of the national narcotics control commission and director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office for China.

The Interpol chief's wife, who is living in France, where the global law enforcement organization is based, reported him missing on Friday, according to multiple media reports.

The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based newspaper known for its connections inside the Chinese government, reported that Meng is under investigation in China for unspecified reasons.

Officials in China have not yet made any public comments about the Interpol chief.

On Friday, the French police started an investigation after the Meng's wife reported that he was missing, unidentified police officials told Reuters.

"Interpol has requested through official law enforcement channels clarification from China's authorities on the status of Interpol President Meng Hongwei", it said in a Twitter statement on Saturday.

French authorities haven't confirmed those details, but did say he was not in France when he was last seen.

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

His term is expected to run until 2020, according to the company's website.

When Meng was named Interpol's president in November 2016, human rights groups expressed concern that Beijing might try to leverage his position to pursue dissidents overseas.

Interpol staff can carry special passports to help speed deployment in emergency situations but that would not have given Meng any specific rights or immunity in his home country.

Meng rose up the ranks of the country's domestic security apparatus when it was under the leadership of Zhou Yongkang, a rival to Xi and the highest-ranking official to be brought down on corruption charges.

China now has 44 outstanding red notices, mostly related to murder, intentional injury and drug smuggling, according to Interpol's web site.

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