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Interpol makes official request to China for info on missing president

07 October 2018

Vice-Minister at China's Ministry of Public Security, Meng Hongwei is now under investigation in China, amidst the mystery surrounding his disappearance after his wife reported to the French police that he went missing.

Before being elected head of Interpol in November 2016, Meng Hongwei was vice minister of public security in China, which critics say gave him control over the secret police.

What is the French investigation looking at?

Meng Hongwei, the president of Interpol - the world's largest global police organisation, which provides support to law enforcement agencies across 192 countries - has not been seen since last week.

The worldwide police agency, based in France, said in a brief statement that "it looks forward to an official response from China's authorities to address concerns over the president's well-being".

News of his absence was swiftly followed by speculation that Meng - who is also Chinese deputy minister of public security - had been swept up in Beijing's secretive anti-corruption campaign.

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Mr Meng is a Chinese national and former Communist Party official.

The paper reported that after landing, Meng was "taken away" for questioning by what it said were "discipline authorities".

'I completely accept all the penalty decisions made according to law, after the investigation done by tax authorities.

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

Meng, who held many senior positions in Chinese Government since entering politics in 1972, "disappeared" on September 25 after travelling to his native country.

"France is puzzled about the situation of Interpol's president and concerned about the threats made to his wife", the ministry said.

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Police in Lyon, the French city in which Interpol is based, had earlier launched their own investigation into Meng's disappearance after his wife reported him missing. Since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012, well over a million party officials have been disciplined in some way.

Meng is head of the executive committee that oversees Interpol. Meng's term is due to run until 2020.

Al Jazeera's Adrian Brow, reporting from Beijing, said China's silence is a "reflection of how sensitive this case is".

Interpol asked China to clarify the status of the law enforcement group's president, amid press reports that he's been arrested in his home country.

Meng has nearly 40 years' experience in criminal justice and policing, and has overseen matters related to legal institutions, narcotics control and counter-terrorism, according to Interpol's website.

China now has 44 outstanding red notices, mostly related to murder, intentional injury and drug smuggling, according to Interpol's web site.

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Interpol makes official request to China for info on missing president