The Head of Interpol Is Missing After a Trip to China

Meng Hongwei president of Interpol gives an addresses at the opening of the Interpol World Congress in Singapore

Meng Hongwei president of Interpol gives an addresses at the opening of the Interpol World Congress in Singapore

Meng's wife contacted police in Lyon - where the couple lives and where Interpol is based - after not hearing from her husband since he travelled to the country, Reuters said. Meng's family hasn't received any news from him since his September 29 departure for China, according to Europe 1.

Meng has 40 years of experience in criminal justice and policing in China, notably in the fields of drugs, counter-terrorism and border control, according to Interpol.

Meng was named president of Interpol in November 2016, and his term is slated to end in 2020.

So far, neither the public security ministry nor the foreign ministry in China has commented.

An image from Interpol showing Meng Hongwei, Chinese President of Interpol, speaking in Bali, Nov. 10, 2016. She refused to say if Meng was on official business in China when he was last heard.

Meng's wife, who has remained in Lyon with their children according to police sources, was receiving protection, it said.

Since Meng continued to hold positions in the security establishment concurrently with his role as Interpol president, that may have placed him under additional pressure. The term usually describes investigators in the ruling Communist Party who probe graft and political disloyalty.

But Interpol has in the past denied this, saying its head does not intervene in day-to-day operations, which are handled by secretary-general Juergen Stock, a German.

Beijing saw Mr Meng's election to Interpol as a chance to enlist more worldwide help in tracing alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials. Its president heads the executive committee, which guides Interpol's priorities and strategy. In the meantime, he served as head and deputy head of branches of the coast guard, all while holding positions at Interpol.

Xi has placed a premium on getting officials and businesspeople accused of fraud and corruption to return from overseas, making Meng's position even more sensitive.

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