Chief of Interpol goes missing in China

MOSCOW RUSSIA ? JULY 6 2018 Interpol President Meng Hongwei at an International Cybersecurity Congress at Moscow's World Trade Centre. Mikhail Metzel  TASS

MOSCOW RUSSIA ? JULY 6 2018 Interpol President Meng Hongwei at an International Cybersecurity Congress at Moscow's World Trade Centre. Mikhail Metzel TASS

Mr Meng was last seen leaving for China from Interpol's headquarters in Lyon, southeast France, in late September.

"France is puzzled about the situation of Interpol's president and concerned about the threats made to his wife", the ministry said.

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

He was elected president of Interpol in November 2016 and his term expires in 2020.

He was previously the vice minister of public security in China.

BBC Asia's editor, Celia Hatton, asked in an analysis Friday, "Has Meng Hongwei angered China?"

Interpol released a statement saying only that it was "aware of media reports in connection with the alleged disappearance" of Meng.

The French official said Meng did arrive in China.

European officials reported that he left the country on 29 September.

The director of Interpol has gone missing after traveling to China last week, multiple outlets report.

The organisation's secretary general, not Meng, was responsible for the day-to-day running of Interpol, it said. Amnesty International said Meng's rise to the international office was "alarming given China's long-standing practice of trying to use Interpol to arrest dissidents and refugees overseas".

Meng's wife, who has remained in Lyon with their children according to police sources, was receiving protection, it said, adding: "Exchanges with Chinese authorities continue". The statement noted that Interpol's secretary general, and not its president, is responsible for the worldwide police agency's operations.

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