Interpol chief Meng Hongwei vanishes on trip to China

Meng Hongwei president of Interpol

The global law enforcement agency based in Lyon, France did not provide details about Meng's disappearance and said in a statement Friday: "This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China".

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

Details about the case are still emerging; as for where Meng is believed to have gone missing, a source tells Agence France-Presse, "He did not disappear in France".

Meng Hongwei was elected at the 85th session of the Interpol General Assembly held in Bali in November 2016.

Interpol's website notes that Meng previously served as Vice Minister of Public Security in his native China.

Interpol President Meng Hongwei in Lyon, France, in May 2018. His wife has not heard from him since.

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Critics suggested that Meng's election gave Beijing a chance to enlist more global help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign.

Meng's duties in China would have put him in close proximity to former leaders, some of whom had fallen afoul of President Xi Jinping's sweeping crackdown on corruption.

According to Reuters, Meng Hongwei's disappearance was reported by his wife, who lives in Leon, where the Interpol headquarters are located.

The secretary-general of Interpol is responsible for the day-to-day running of the organisation.

A person familiar with the investigation into the disappearance said the initial working assumption of Western investigators was that Meng had antagonized Chinese authorities in some way and had been detained as a result.

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