Interpol head goes missing

French police launch an investigation into disappearance of Interpol chief Meng Hongwei.

Tags: Interpol
Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

Meng Hongwei
Meng Hongwei

French police have launched an investigation into the reported disappearance last week of Meng Hongwei, the Chinese head of the international police organization Interpol, a source close to the inquiry said Friday, according to the AFP news agency.

Meng was last seen leaving for China from Interpol's headquarters in Lyon, southeast France, in late September, the source said. His wife reported him missing.

"He did not disappear in France," the source told AFP.

Europe reported that he left the country on September 29.

The South China Morning Post on Friday quoted as source as saying that Meng, 64, was "taken away" for questioning in China.

It is not clear why he was being investigated and Chinese officials have not commented on the issue.

"Interpol is aware of media reports in connection with the alleged disappearance of Interpol President Meng Hongwei. This is a matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China," Interpol said in a statement quoted by CNN.

"Interpol's General Secretariat headquarters will not comment further," it stated.

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

He was the first Chinese leader of Interpol, which connects the law enforcement agencies of its 192 member countries but which does not have agents of its own with powers of arrest.

Beijing saw Meng's election as a chance to enlist more international help in tracking down alleged economic criminals, including corrupt officials, targeted by President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign.

However the drive, known as Operation Fox Hunt, has led to claims in some countries that Chinese law enforcement agents have been operating covertly on their soil without the approval or consent of local authorities.

Meng's term is scheduled to run until 2020.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)