China tight-lipped on disappeared Interpol chief

Meng Hongwei president of Interpol

Meng Hongwei president of Interpol

"Interpol's General Secretariat looks forward to an official response from China's authorities to address concerns over the president's well-being".

Global police agency Interpol has urged China to clarify the status of its president, Meng Hongwei, who has gone missing on a visit to the country.

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.

French police investigating the disappearance of Interpol president Meng Hongwei have placed his family under special protection.

A source familiar with the investigation said the working assumption was that the 64-year-old had antagonised Chinese authorities and had been detained as a result.

Before taking over at Interpol, Mr Meng was deputy minister in charge of public security in China and is still a senior Communist Party official. Besides that, he also served as the Vice-chairman of the national narcotics control commission and also is a senior Communist Party official in China.

He is still listed as a vice-minister for the Chinese government according to the South China Morning Post.

Because Interpol's secretary general is responsible for the day-to-day running of the agency's operations, Mr Meng's absence may have little operational effect. The newspaper said last week that Meng had been "taken away" for questioning by what it said were "discipline authorities". The paper, which based its reporting on an unnamed source, said the reason for Meng's questioning was unknown.

As of yet there is no indication as to why Meng would be under investigation by authorities in Beijing.

China's Ministry of Public Security did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment and there was no mention of him in official media on Saturday.

Meng Hongwei, president of Interpol. "It is quite possible that Meng found himself on the wrong side of the political divide in China, at a time when President Xi Jinping is intensifying his crackdown on corruption".

Meng Hongwei was reported missing after traveling to China.

Meng became the first Chinese citizen to be elected as president of Interpol in November 2016 when he replaced French police officer Mireille Ballestrazzi.

His term is expected to run until 2020, according to the company's website. The official in question suddenly drops out of the public eye and an alarm is raised that the person is "missing", usually by members of the public.

Authorities in China and Hong Kong have accused Guo, who resides in the United States, of laundering billions of dollars among other crimes.

But it does not have the power to send officers into countries to arrest individuals or issue arrest warrants.

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