Interpol president Meng Hongwei missing in China

MOSCOW RUSSIA ? JULY 6 2018 Interpol President Meng Hongwei at an International Cybersecurity Congress at Moscow's World Trade Centre. Mikhail Metzel  TASS

Interpol President Meng Hongwei has been reported missing after leaving France for a trip to his native China, triggering a police investigation and search for the official, who hasn't been seen since September 29.

Meng's wife, who lives in Lyon, where the worldwide police organization has its headquarters, contacted the police after not hearing from her husband since he traveled to China in late September.

Interpol, which coordinates worldwide policing efforts, says it is aware of media reports in connection with Hongwei's disappearance.

French police are investigating what is officially termed in France a "worrying disappearance".

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

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.

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"He left Lyon for China last week".

It was not clear whether Mr Meng had travelled to China on official business or for personal reasons.

The Interpol president has not been in touch since September 29. Rights groups expressed concern when he as appointed that Beijing might try to use Meng's position at the body to go after dissidents overseas.

Meng Hongwei, the director of Interpol, is reportedly missing.

Interpol has denied in the past that Meng would be able to abuse his power, as the day-to-day operations are overseen by the Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock.

A French official said Mr Meng did arrive in China. Interpol and Chinese authorities have remained silent so far.

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