Interpol President Meng Hongwei, who was reported missing on Friday, was “taken away” for “questioning by discipline authorities”, an unidentified official told South China Morning Post. The official did not specify the reason for why Meng, who was a vice-minister at China’s Ministry of Public Security, was detained.
On Friday, the French police started an investigation after the Meng’s wife reported that he was missing, unidentified police officials told Reuters. Meng has been missing since he travelled to China at the end of September, his wife said.
Meng’s wife lives in Lyon, France, where the international police organisation has its headquarters.
Neither China’s public security ministry nor its foreign ministry have replied to queries about the president. Beijing’s supervision law provides that a suspect’s family and employer be notified within 24 hours of a detention, except in cases where it could hinder an investigation. Meng’s wife was purportedly not informed.
In a statement, Interpol said it was aware of reports about Meng’s alleged disappearance, reported AP. “This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China,” it said. The statement also added that the secretary general, and not the president, is responsible for the international police agency’s daily operations.
Meng, 64, was elected president of the Interpol in November 2016, with his term set to end in 2020. He earlier served as the vice-minister of public security in China as well as the vice-chairman of the National Narcotics Control Commission and director of the National Counter-Terrorism Office for China, according to the Interpol website.
While the China’s Ministry of Public Security website lists the Interpol director as a vice-minister, Meng lost his seat on its Communist Party Committee in April.