France opens probe over missing Interpol president

Interpol chief missing France launches an investigation- media

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

French police said Friday they are probing the disappearance of the Chinese head of Interpol, who has reportedly been detained for questioning in his home country.

Meng, 64, was elected to run Interpol, an global police cooperation organization in 2016.

He was named chief of Interpol in 2016 and his term is due to run until 2020.

Rights groups previously said that Beijing could use Meng's position to arrest and deport its critics overseas.

The Interpol head travelled to China at the end of September.

Hongwei's family have not heard from him since September 25, the ministry added, earlier than the September 29 date police sources had previously reported.

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China, in the midst of a weeklong holiday, has yet to comment on the 64-year-old security official's disappearance. Neither China's public security ministry nor its foreign ministry have replied to queries about the president.

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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. "The Secretary General is the Organization's full time official responsible for the day to day running of Interpol".

Reuters was not immediately able to reach China's Ministry of Public Security for comment.

Reports from April said Meng had been relieved of his position as a member of the party committee at the Ministry of Public Security, with no explanation given.

Beijing has in the past pressed other countries to arrest and deport back to China citizens it accuses of crimes including corruption and terrorism.

The probe was opened by the prosecutor in Lyon, where Interpol is based, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the status of the case is confidential.

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". It appears Meng's wife was not informed. Mr Xi has waged a campaign against corruption and has sought the return of suspected officials and businesspeople who fled overseas.

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