China asked to divulge information on Interpol chief Meng's disappearance

Interpol President Meng Hongwei walks toward the stage to deliver his opening address at the Interpol World congress. — AP

China yesterday remained silent over the disappearance of the head of Interpol, deepening the mystery over the global police chief's fate after reports said he was detained for questioning on arrival in his homeland.

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.

He left his home in Lyon, France, for a visit to his homeland, and then vanished - putting the International Criminal Police Organization, best known as Interpol, at the centre of its own missing persons case.

In addition to his Interpol post, Mr Meng is also a vice minister for public security in China.

She told police that she had last heard from him 10 days ago and had recently received threats via social networks and by telephone. The Interpol headquarters are based in Lyon.

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

The agency's secretary general Juergen Stock, who oversees day-to-day operations, said Saturday that it was seeking "clarification" on his whereabouts from Chinese authorities.

Last year, Meng gave a speech on the importance of cracking down on cyber crime which observers said might reflect China's views on the issue.

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FILE - In this July 4, 2017 file photo, Interpol President, Meng Hongwei, walks toward the stage to deliver his opening address at the Interpol World congress in Singapore.

A person familiar with the investigation into the disappearance said the initial working assumption of Western investigators was that Meng had antagonised Chinese authorities in some way and had been detained as a result.

News of the investigation into Mr Meng's disappearance came during a week-long public holiday in China.

"It is freaky", Broadhurst said Saturday, noting China most likely would "brush off" any political damage to Beijing's involvement in worldwide bodies.

So far, Chinese authorities have not made an official statement in this regard. He likely dealt extensively with former security chief Zhou Yongkang, now serving a life sentence for corruption.

In the role Meng has been entrusted with a number of sensitive portfolios, including heading up the country's counter-terrorism division, which saw him in charge of the response to several major incidents in China's fractious western region of Xinjiang.

During Meng's tenure, Interpol issued a red notice for fugitive Chinese billionaire real estate tycoon Guo Wengui, who threatened to reveal corruption at the country's highest levels.

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