Did China detain missing Interpol president?

Geneva Stokes
October 8, 2018

Meng's wife contacted police in Lyon, the French city where the worldwide police agency is based, after not hearing from him since September 25, and after receiving threats by phone and on social media, the ministry said.

The Lyon-based worldwide police agency said it used law enforcement channels to submit its request to China about the status of Meng Hongwei.

As of now, no official from either the public security nor the foreign ministry in China has commented on the issue.

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The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's secretive internal investigation agency, had no announcements about Meng and couldn't be reached for comment, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.

Earlier, reports in Chinese media suggested that Interpol chief was held by the Chinese authorities.

Far from being a Hollywood-style agency with agents toting weapons across the globe, Interpol is low-profile and discrete about its cases, unless it wants to talk.

The spouse of the Interpol president informed the police about his disappearance. But because Interpol's secretary general is responsible for the day-to-day running of the police agency's operations, Meng's absence may have little operational effect.

Meng rose up the ranks of the country's domestic security apparatus when it was under the leadership of Zhou Yongkang, a rival to Xi and the highest-ranking official to be brought down on corruption charges.

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"France is looking into the situation of the President of Interpol and is concerned about the threats his wife has received", the statement said.

"Yellow notices" are issued for missing persons.

Meng, 64, the first Chinese head of the global law enforcement agency headquartered in France, was "taken away" for questioning by discipline authorities "as soon as he landed in China" last week, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted a source as saying.

Mr Xi has also placed a premium on obtaining the return of officials and businesspeople accused of fraud and corruption from overseas, making Mr Meng's position all the more sensitive.

The anti-corruption drive recently drew headlines after the disappearance three months ago of X-Men star Fan Bingbing, one of the country's best-known actresses. The 37-year-old is now making headlines around the world for having seemingly vanished.

However, the Chinese government has not said anything publicly yet about Meng's disappearance.

Her whereabouts remain unknown.

The National Supervisory Commission, which handles corruption cases involving public servants, broke the official silence early Monday, saying in a one-line statement that Meng "is now under investigation on suspicion of violating the law".

French police have described the matter as a "worrying disappearance".

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