French police investigating after Interpol president reported missing in China

Meng Hongwei president of Interpol gives an addresses at the opening of the Interpol World Congress in Singapore

Meng Hongwei president of Interpol gives an addresses at the opening of the Interpol World Congress in Singapore

Meng was last seen in France on September 29, police sources said. The statement specified that Interpol's secretary general, and not its president, is responsible for the worldwide police agency's operations. The statement also added that the secretary general, and not the president, is responsible for the global police agency's daily operations.

FILE - In this July 4, 2017 file photo, Interpol President, Meng Hongwei, delivers his opening address at the Interpol World congress in Singapore.

Meng is listed on the website of China's Ministry of Public Security as a vice-minister, but lost his seat on its key Communist Party Committee in April, the South China Morning Post reported.

Interpol's headquarters are in Lyon, in central France.

One of the more public cases was that of Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing who only recently returned to social media after dropping off the radar in May. Meng has been missing since he travelled to China at the end of September, claimed his wife.

The news site Caixin later said Yang was being investigated by Chinese authorities over his ties to the head of state-controlled Huarong Asset Management and had been detained in Cambodia.

Interpol said it was aware of reports in connection with Meng's "alleged disappearance".

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

He became the head of Interpol in November 2016, and before that, he in particular, he was Deputy Minister of public security at home.

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.

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

Despite such statements, rights groups expressed concern that Meng would help further China's agenda of attacking the government's political foes while neutralizing criticism.

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