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Head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, missing after China trip

Head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, missing after China trip

Meng's wife contacted police in Lyon, the French city where the worldwide police agency is based, after not hearing from him since September 25, and after receiving threats by phone and on social media, the ministry said.

INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei poses during a visit to the headquarters of International Police Organisation in Lyon, France, May 8, 2018. The statement specified that Interpol's secretary general, and not its president, is responsible for the global police agency's operations.

Meng was taken into custody immediately upon his arrival in China last week for questioning by authorities, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a source it didn't identify.

As president, Meng leads the Executive Committee, which provides the overall guidance and direction to Interpol.

Meng is a senior Communist Party official in China.

Chinese officials have so far made no public comments on the issue.

He previously served as the Vice Chairman of the National Narcotics Control Commission and Director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office for China.

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

"We are aware of media reports in connection with the alleged disappearance of Interpol President Meng Hongwei".

Mr Meng's wife alerted the French authorities, leading to the opening of the probe, Europe 1 said, without specifying how it had obtained the information.

In July a year ago, Meng gave a speech on the importance of cracking down on cyber crime which observers said might reflect China's views on the issue.

Meng Hongwei, 64, was elected the new president of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) in November 2016.

Such actions would be contrary to Interpol's mission statement: "Action is taken within the limits of existing laws in different countries and in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights".

"Exchanges with Chinese authorities continue", the ministry said in a statement.