Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Missing Interpol president ‘taken away’ by Chinese officials for questioning

Meng Hongwei president of Interpol Meng Hongwei president of Interpol
Andrew Cummings | 07 October, 2018, 05:55

It was opened after Mr Meng's wife went to police to report her husband missing.

French police have opened an investigation into the reported disappearance last week of Meng Hongwei, the Chinese head of the global police organisation Interpol, a source close to the inquiry said.

He added that: 'Interpol has requested through official law enforcement channels clarification from China's authorities on the status of Interpol President Meng Hongwei'.

His disappearance was reported by his wife to the French police who said she didn't hear from her husband after he landed in China. France has launched its own investigation.

Citing an anonymous source, the South China Morning Post said that authorities from the nation's disciplinary commission had snatched Meng upon arrival in Beijing.

In addition to his Interpol post, Mr Meng is also a vice minister for public security in China.

So far, Chinese authorities have not made an official statement in this regard.

Neither the public security ministry nor the foreign ministry responded to the Post's requests for comment on Friday, and as of Saturday evening there had been no mention of Meng in the state media.

In the past, Beijing saw Mr Meng's election to Interpol as a chance to enlist more global help in tracing alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials.

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INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon, France, May 8, 2018.

"It is freaky", Broadhurst said on Saturday, adding that China was likely to "brush off" any political damage that it would cause to Beijing's involvement in global bodies.

Though few details have emerged, the mysterious circumstances of Meng's disappearance have already prompted criticisms of Chinese authorities' lack of transparency.

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.

He was elected president of Interpol in 2016.

Chinese president Xi Jinping (習近平) has presided over an anti-graft drive since coming to power in 2012 that has punished more than 1 million officials. Meng's term is due to run until 2020.

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

At the time, his appointment raised fears among human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International, that he would be used by the Chinese Government to pursue political dissidents who fled the country. His experience ranges from narcotics control to counter-terrorism, according to Interpol's website.

In 2014, China worked through Interpol to issue notices for 100 Chinese corruption suspects who fled overseas.

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