Interpol head goes missing after China visit, French police starts probe

Meng Hongwei's wife reported him missing on Friday, the official said. Interpol said: "This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China".

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party's secretive internal investigation agency, had no announcements on its website about Meng and could not be reached for comment.

When Meng was named Interpol's president in November 2016, human rights groups expressed concern that Beijing might try to leverage his position to pursue dissidents overseas.

Rights groups have previously expressed concern Beijing might try to use Mr Meng's position at the body to go after dissidents overseas.

China Daily emphasized the potential boost to China's recent clampdown on corruption, noting that China had increasingly worked with Interpol to pursue "China's 100 most-wanted fugitives suspected of corruption".

He was elected president of Interpol two years ago. Interpol and Chinese authorities have remained silent so far. The official said Meng did arrive in China.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, citing an unnamed source, said the 64-year-old was under investigation in China and had been taken away for questioning as soon as he landed there.

But Interpol has in the past denied this, saying its head does not intervene in day-to-day operations, which are handled by secretary-general Juergen Stock, a German. Mr Xi has waged a campaign against corruption and has sought the return of suspected officials and businesspeople who fled overseas. In the meantime, he served as head and deputy head of branches of the coast guard, all while holding positions at Interpol.

  • Rogelio Becker